Texas softball rides carries momentum into midweek game

Steve Helwick

The Texas Longhorns softball team is riding a three-game winning streak into their next home matchup.

The 30–13 Longhorns, after three close victories in a sweep over Oklahoma State, will battle the Texas Southern Lady Tigers, owners of the top record in the SWAC at 22–14.

“We definitely need a win,” sophomore pitcher Paige von Sprecken said. “We need to play good because of the RPI. We just need to keep playing the way we played [last weekend]. We just played with a lot of heart and didn’t give up at any point.”

With uncertainty regarding the status of junior pitcher Tiarra Davis, Texas will likely start von Sprecken against Texas Southern. She pitched the latter two games of the Oklahoma State series and also saw success at the plate, accumulating six RBIs during a two-game stretch.

“[Sweeping Oklahoma State] helps with our RPI a lot, especially just going into these next games in the week and in conference,” von Sprecken said regarding the Longhorns’ momentum going forward.

Although their conference record improved to 5-6 in the Oklahoma State series, the Longhorns have performed best when matched up against opponents outside of the Big 12, faring 25–7 in non-conference games. The Longhorns have also performed exceptionally at home, where they boast a 20–4 record.

Texas Southern has also won five straight games, but the Lady Tigers have gone 8–12 out of conference and 8–8 on the road. Texas is the first and only Big 12 opponent that they will face in 2016.

“They will show us a little bit of competitive pieces,” head coach Connie Clark said. “It’s kind of nice when you’re seeing somebody else and a different arm coming at you.”

The two in-state opponents met twice in 2015, with the Longhorns claiming both games, including one shutout. Wednesday night’s game will be the only meeting between the Longhorns and Lady Tigers this season. Texas’ last midweek game occurred on April 6, and the Longhorns will attempt to win their seventh-straight midweek game against Texas Southern.

“I’m actually excited we have a midweek,” head coach Connie Clark said. “When we didn’t have a midweek these past two weeks, it was great for practice opportunities and we really tried to pressure them up in practice. It will be nice to have a single game and try to utilize the entire roster and stay sharp as we head into the series with Kansas.”