Texas softball thrives off hot start to beat Mean Green

Steve Helwick

In their penulitmate home game of the season Wednesday night, the Longhorns defeated North Texas 4-2 at Red & Charline McCombs Field. The victory continued a recent hot streak for Texas, marking its seventh win in eight games. 

Texas’ defensive unit was instrumental in handing North Texas its 13th-consecutive loss. Junior starting pitcher Tiarra Davis threw four innings of shutout ball, striking out seven Mean Green batters. Davis — reaching her 20th win of the season — finished her outing with no walks but was removed by head coach Connie Clark after the fourth inning concluded.

“We talked about it before the game that we were going to get all three [pitchers] some work,” Clark said. “Potentially, we’re going to need all three of them over the long haul this weekend, and I thought all three attacked the strike zone
well tonight.”

Kristen Clark, a sophomore making her 17th appearance of the season, replaced Davis in the fifth inning. On the hill, Clark ceded Texas’ lone walk and two runs of the contest. Paige von Sprecken entered the contest in the sixth inning for the Longhorns. She struck out one batter and only allowed two hits in the final two innings of the game to secure the save, her second of the year. 

The Longhorns and Mean Green were comparable on the offensive side of the ball. Both teams collected seven hits, but the Longhorns were able to capitalize off of them. Senior rightfielder Holly Kern smashed a ball out to centerfield in the second inning to earn her first triple of the season, scoring two runs in the process.

“We’ve been talking about lately with our coaches about starting fast. I think we came out with that mentality,” Kern said. “We’ve been focusing so much on starting fast that sometimes I feel like we need to keep our foot on the pedal.”

After the second inning, the Longhorns were perplexed by North Texas pitcher Jessica Elder. Elder entered the game in the third inning and threw four perfect innings to complete the matchup. Texas could not produce a walk, hit or run while Elder was on the mound. She retired all 12 batters she faced.

“[Elder] was a lot slower and spinny, so we were putting people in the front of the box, putting people in the back of the box,” Kern said. “We couldn’t quite put the right formula together, so it was a good thing we started fast.”

The victory completed Texas’ eight-game homestand. Now, the Longhorns will make one final road trip before postseason as they travel to Ames, Iowa to battle the Cyclones on Friday.