Cougars out-muscle Texas softball, 5-4

Scarlett Smith

The Longhorns fell to the Houston Cougars 5-4 on Wednesday evening at Red and Charline McCombs Field after blowing a two-run lead in the seventh. 

The matchup began as a pitching duel as freshman Tiarra Davis got the start against senior Diedre Outon of Houston. Diedre Outon, whose catcher is her twin sister Haley Outon, threw five innings in the Cougars’ win. 

Texas head coach Connie Clark’s team started strong, but fell prey to a defensive lapse in the top half of the third inning, surrendering two runs on dropped balls in center field and by sophomore Holly Kern at first base.    

Davis, a burgeoning force in the circle, got her seventh start in eleven games. Davis lasted three innings Thursday before being replaced, after several defensive miscues gave the visiting Cougars an early two-run lead.  

Clark had planned to pitch by committee, making three changes throughout the game. Junior Gabby Smith took over for Davis to start the fourth, working out of a bases loaded jam to hold the Cougars scoreless in the inning.

Senior shortstop Taylor Thom was shut down Thursday through three at-bats before an RBI single in the sixth moved her into sole possession of first place on the Texas all-time RBI list. Texas finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth, scoring two runs off sophomore utility Lindsey Stephens’ one-out double, her 41st and 42nd RBIs of the season to lead the Big 12. Freshman second baseman Stephanie Wong’s leadoff double in the bottom of the sixth got things started for Texas. Wong eventually came around to score on a squeeze by senior catcher Mandy Ogle, giving the Longhorns their first lead of the game.

Freshman pitcher Lauren Slatten then replaced Smith in the top of the sixth inning and was later pulled for Davis, who returned to a 5-4 deficit after Houston scored three runs to take the lead for good in the top of the seventh. Davis pitched well, allowing only two hits while striking out six and walking two on the night. The loss drops Texas to 18-15 on the season.       

Texas will get out on the diamond again Saturday to kick off Big 12 play when it travels to Waco to take on Baylor in a two-game series.