Home runs, stout pitching help softball sweep Cyclones


Jonathan Garza

Senior catcher Mandy Ogle, pictured here against Texas Tech on April 6, hit a game-winning two-run home run Friday against Iowa State. Texas hit eight home runs against the Cyclones over the weekend. 

Jacob Martella

A three-game series against conference bottom dweller Iowa State was just what the Texas offense, which has struggled at times to score with runners on base, needed.

The Longhorns pounded 38 hits — eight of which left the park — and scored 38 runs in an easy sweep of the Cyclones on Friday and Saturday.

Texas (26-16, 6-1 Big 12) got off to a fast start in the first game of a doubleheader Friday, scoring in every inning of the contest. The Longhorns broke the game open in the second inning. After the first three batters reached base, sophomore right fielder Lindsey Stephens singled to right to score a run, and senior shortstop Taylor Thom cleared the bases with a grand slam over the center field wall to put Texas up 6-0.

Texas capped off an eight-run second to take a commanding 9-0 lead. After the Cyclones (18-21, 1-8 Big 12) cut the Longhorns’ lead to eight in the bottom of the fourth, Stephens belted a three-run homer — her second of the game — to put Texas up 17-6 en route to a 19-6 win in game one.

The second game of the doubleheader would be a much different story. Texas’ freshman pitcher Tiarra Davis and Iowa State’s junior pitcher Paris Imholz kept the bats silenced for much of the game. Davis, who pitched only in the first inning of the first game, allowed just three hits and got out of a tight jam in the sixth with a runner at third to preserve the scoreless tie.

Senior catcher Mandy Ogle became the hero of the game, hitting a two-run home run to center, which proved to be the game-winner.

With their second Big 12 series of the season clinched, the Longhorns returned to their first-game form in the series finale Saturday. After the first two batters of the game reached base, Thom lined a triple to right field and then scored on a Davis ground out to give Texas an early 3-0 lead.

The long ball continued to fly for the Longhorns as sophomore second baseman Stephanie Ceo hit a two-run shot in the second inning, and then, in the fourth, Thom hit her second of the series followed by a three-run blast from senior first baseman Karina Scott.

Meanwhile, Davis continued from where she left off, limiting Iowa State to only four hits in the game and allowing only one run as the Longhorns finished the sweep with a 17-1 win.

The series sweep was the ninth straight time the Longhorns have swept the Cyclones.

With the three wins, Texas sits in second place in the Big 12 standings, three games behind Oklahoma, which won two out of three against Baylor this weekend. The Sooners and Longhorns face off in a three-game series beginning Thursday that could decide the Big 12 champion.