Longhorns explode for 30 runs in wins over Toledo, Ball State

Isabel Miller

The Longhorns didn’t need any late game heroics on Friday. Instead, they let their bats do all of the work.

Texas scored 30 runs in run-rule wins over Toledo and Ball State to open the Hilton Houston Plaza Invitational.

The Longhorns opened the scoring early in the first game against Toledo. Freshman right fielder Regan Hathaway struck first with a sacrifice fly to right and senior catcher Erin Shireman drew a walk — one of a school-record 14 free passes — to bring in another run.

But two innings later and the Longhorns up 3-2, Hathaway made her presence known. Hathaway drilled a solo home run to right center field, then followed that up in the next inning with a three-run home run.

The scoring didn’t stop there for Texas. Eleven of the next 13 batters reached base as Texas plated 13 runs to put the game out of reach.

Hathaway finished the 17-2 win going a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate, with three runs scored and seven RBI, just shy of the school single-game record held by Taylor Thom

While Hathaway wasn’t able to keep the hot hitting going in the second game, the Longhorn offense kept on hitting and kept bringing runs across runs.

Texas broke the game open in the second inning, first with an RBI double by junior shortstop Devon Tunning to break a 1-1 tie and then junior left fielder Stephanie Wong took the next pitch deep for a three-run home run and a 5-1 lead.

Junior third baseman Celina Felix continued the run parade in the next inning, drilling a 1-1 pitch over the centerfield wall to put the Longhorns up 9-2. An inning later, senior center  fielder Lindsey Stephens hit an RBI single and junior pinch hitter Taylor McAllister cleared the bases with a three-RBI double to lift Texas to a 13-2 run-rule win.

The strong offensive showing overshadowed solid outings in the circle for junior pitcher Tiarra Davis and sophomore pitcher Paige von Sprecken.

Davis pitched five innings of three-hit ball against Toledo with two earned runs given up and two strikeouts. Von Sprecken followed that up with a five-inning complete game, allowing just one earned run and striking out five batters.

Head coach Connie Clark said the two blowout wins allowed her to see how the entire roster looks in game action.

“I love that,” Clark said. “Something we want to keep building on, especially in these tournaments where you play so many games, is to be able to give different athletes as many looks as we can.”

Texas will face a rematch with Ball State on Saturday before finishing up the tournament with games against Toledo and Houston on Sunday.