It was a cool Thursday night at Red and Charline McCombs Field, but No. 21 Texas’ bats were on fire.
The Longhorns (11-0) jumped on Abilene Christian early en route to a 15-1 romping in five innings to kick off the Texas Invitational. The crowd on hand was small and heavily layered, but the Longhorn offense gave them a show.
“It’s so exciting to see everyone having success,” freshman right fielder Reagan Hathaway said. “It’s really comforting to know that everyone can have great at-bats and great hits. It makes me really excited for what’s to come.”
Texas notched nine hits and scored 12 runs in its half of the first inning. Abilene Christian sent two different pitchers to the mound in the inning, but the change didn’t slow Texas down.
Sixteen Longhorn hitters went to the plate and all nine starters got on base. Senior outfielder Rachel Scott entered the game as a pinch hitter and tabbed her first hit and RBI of the season.
The second inning wasn’t quite as explosive, but it did give some of the Longhorn reserves a chance to come to the plate. Senior Holly Kern, junior Taylor McAllister and freshman Bekah Alcozer all entered the game as pinch hitters. McAllister hit a RBI single to left field, and Alcozer recorded her second hit of the season.
“I’m real pleased with the effort from our hitters the first half of the game,” head coach Connie Clark said. “I love that we’re able to get some different people in. Good, solid team effort to be able to get everyone some looks.”
The Wildcats got small victories in the second half of the game. Defensively, they kept Texas scoreless in the third and sent the Longhorns down in order in the fourth. They put a couple of scoring threats together and were able to capitalize by putting a run on the board in the fifth.
Junior pitcher Tiarra Davis got the win for Texas, but struggled at times. Although she gave up just four hits, she walked four Wildcats and allowed Abilene Christian to get its leadoff hitter on base in four of the five innings played.
“Tiarra labored a little bit tonight,” Clark said. “She struggled, had too many walks and wasn’t hitting her marks real well. But she kept a good mindset and that’s what you’re looking for.”
Texas and Abilene Christian will rematch on Friday at noon before the Longhorns take on Tulsa at 2:30 p.m.. Texas is five wins away from tying the best start in program history, but that’s not where the focus is.
“We’re not thinking about that at all,” Hathaway said. “We just need to make sure we’re playing our game, not get too carried away and focus on doing what we can right now.”