Longhorn softball gets back on track with doubleheader sweep at North Texas

Jacob Martella

DENTON, Texas – After a strong Texas Invitational, the Longhorns struggled in the Judi Garman Classic over the weekend, winning only one game while giving up 22 runs and leaving 45 runners on base.

Texas reversed that trend in game one of a double header with North Texas, posting a six run first inning en route to a 10-2 win.  In the second game, junior pitcher Gabby Smith kept the Mean Green at bay, giving the Longhorns a 2-1 win.

“It was a tale of two games,” head coach Connie Clark said. “Those are great for our experience as we get geared up and ready for conference.”

The Longhorns (16-3) got off to a fast start in the first game of the day with the first four batters reaching base. After Davis grounded out to put Texas up 2-0, freshman left fielder Stephanie Wong hit a three-run homer to right field and senior catcher Mandy Ogle followed with a solo shot to extend the lead to 6-0.

“It was tremendous,” Clark said. “We’ve been so close and had opportunities. At some point the game starts to pay you back”

That would be all the support Davis would need in the circle. She struck-out a career-high 13 batters and allowed only three hits. The only blemish for Davis came in the fourth inning when she gave up a double and walked three batters to allow the only two North Texas runs of the game.

Clark said she was glad to have Davis back after a minor injury kept her out of the final game of the weekend.

“She felt great today and ready to go and I thought that was significant,” Clark said.

The second game was quickly turned into a pitchers duel. North Texas’ Madison Thompson and Texas’ Gabby Smith held the offenses scorless through the first four innings. Sophomore second baseman Stephanie Ceo ended Thompson’s no-hit bid in the fifth with an infield single and then scored on a double to right by senior shortstop Taylor Thom. In the sixth, sophomore right fielder Lindsey Stephens hit her tenth home run of the year to extend the Texas lead to 2-1.

In the bottom of the seventh, however, the Mean Green (16-7) rallied for a comeback attempt. With two on and two outs, Brooke Foster drew a walk to load the bases and Spencer Ferrell hit an infield single to trim the Texas lead to 2-1. But Smith came back to strike out Danielle Hoff on four pitches to end the game.

Clark said that it was big for them to get a close win after coming close in those situations all year.

“We absolutely need that,” Clark said. “It’s good to get that feel and be able to win a tight one.”

The doubleheader was the end of a seven-day road trip for the Longhorns. After a tough walk-off loss to Long Beach Sunday, Texas flew straight to Dallas. Clark said being away from home for so long worried her going into the game.

“I was concerned about flying in yesterday and having to play two games today,” Clark said.

Texas now heads back to Austin for a three game series against Iowa this weekend.