Texas seeks redemption against Oklahoma State

Steve Helwick

The Longhorns return home to face Oklahoma State in a three-game series over the weekend after being swept by the Sooners last weekend.

The Longhorns have protected their house, achieving a 17-4 record at McCombs Field this season. However, they have not fared well against conference opponents in 2016, earning a 2-6 Big 12 record that ranks second to last in the conference.

“I think they came away from the [Oklahoma] series feeling obviously painful, because we were in every game,” head coach Connie Clark said. “We didn’t get the outcomes but competed well.”

With the Oklahoma series behind them, Texas’ schedule eases up as they enter an eight-game homestand that begins with Oklahoma State.

“I compare [Oklahoma State] a little bit to Texas Tech in regards to I expect them to come out fast and stir up momentum,” said Clark. “We have to slow it down, own the moment and not get consumed with them trying to rush us up.”

Oklahoma State matches Texas in the loss column in Big 12 play but their 22-19 overall record compares unfavorably to Texas’ 27-13 record. In 2015, the Longhorns pulverized the Cowgirls, winning by a combined score of 27-2 in a three-game series in Stillwater.

Junior second baseman Kelli Hanzel contributed six runs and three hits in the Oklahoma State series in 2015. She is currently second on the team in runs with 25 after scoring five in the Oklahoma series.

Hanzel blasted a three-run home run in Texas’ last game, responsible for all three runs in a 5-3 loss to Oklahoma.

“We had a game plan in place, and we were right there, so we’re just looking to turn those into W’s,” Hanzel said regarding the previous series. “It’s kind of refreshing to know our offense was right there the whole time and knowing we can compete with any team in the country.”

Lindsey Stephens, the team’s leader in runs, hits, RBIs and home runs, is eyeing a milestone during the series against Oklahoma State. With one home run, Stephens can become the second Longhorn in program history to hit 40 career homers. The senior centerfielder has rewritten the record books in Austin, currently fourth in batting average, third in RBIs, and second in slugging percentage in her career.

“We’re happy to be back in another conference series this weekend, just taking what we learned from our [Oklahoma] series and putting that into place against [Oklahoma State],” Stephens said. “If we take that same mentality to this game, our bats will do just as great as they did in the OU series.”