Davis rebounds to lead Texas to first series win of the year

Jacob Martella

Sunday night, freshman pitcher Tiarra Davis did something she hasn’t done often this season — give up the eventual game-winning grand slam in a relief appearance, as the Longhorns fell to Iowa 6-5.

But Monday night, Davis was on a mission in the circle, striking out nine batters and holding the Hawkeyes to one hit as Texas won its first series of the year with a 3-0 win.

“She wants the ball,” head coach Connie Clark said. “It’s just about getting her consistent and dealing with scenarios like that.”

Davis came out firing to start the game, striking out four of the Iowa’s first seven batters. 

Iowa (5-12) threatened Texas in the top of the third inning as the first two runners reached base for the top of the Hawkeye lineup. But Davis got a fly out to center, a strikeout and a ground out to get out of the jam. In the fourth, Davis fired back, striking out all three batters in the frame, keeping batters off balance with a mix of fastballs and off speed pitches.

Davis, who improved to 7-7 this season and leads the team with a 2.36 ERA, also worked around bit of a jam in the fourth with two on and one out for her 10th complete game and first career shutout. She said she trusts her defense when she gets in those tough situations.

“Usually me and Mandy [Ogle] have a head nod or something, and it reminds me to relax and just throw the ball and trust my defense,” Davis said.

The Longhorns (18-14), who have struggled to take advantage of scoring opportunities this season, struck in the first inning when sophomore right-fielder Lindsey Stephens got the offense going with a two-out triple. Then, with the bases loaded, sophomore designated-hitter Holly Kern ripped a double to left-center field to score the first two runs of the game.

Kern said she benefited from Davis’ 11-pitch at bat right before she stepped to the plate.

“Coming into the at bat, I was like, ‘She had a really good at bat, so I’m going to get a hit for her’,” Kern said. “It felt really good to score some runners.”

In the next inning, the Horns added another run when senior center-fielder Brejae Washington hit a two-out triple to left-center to score senior catcher Mandy Ogle.

Meanwhile, for Iowa, senior pitcher Kayla Massey settled down after the first two innings. Despite allowing nine hits, Massey kept Texas off the board in the last four innings, including pitching out of a bases loaded situation in the sixth inning.

Texas will get one last non-conference game Wednesday night against Houston before opening up Big 12 play at Waco on Saturday and Sunday.