While a trip down I-35 may not be considered an away game when compared to traveling to California or Arizona, the Longhorns beat UTSA 9-1 in an intrastate showdown in San Antonio Wednesday night.
Coming off three straight losses versus Oklahoma State, Texas rebounded in the mid-week matchup, improving to a record of 18-14 ahead of another nonconference matchup this weekend.
“I think it’s good that we’ve got UTSA and then Houston this weekend on our turf, both nonconference matchups,” head coach Connie Clark said. “It’s a good opportunity for us to really sharpen the pieces up and more than anything just kind of gather the team.”
Redshirt sophomore Erica Wright started the game in dominant fashion, striking out four batters in only two innings of work. Following Wright in relief, sophomore Brooke Bolinger pitched another two solid innings. Junior Kristen Clark finished out the contest with a solid inning of work.
Offensively, Texas came to play, scoring nine runs in the first five innings of play. Freshman Taylor Ellsworth continued her hot performance, building off her record-setting 5-5 offensive display Sunday versus Oklahoma State with a homerun and two RBI versus the Roadrunners.
“It’s a tough decision to make going with the freshman behind the plate, but she’s just done everything so well,” Clark said. “She sees the ball tremendously well and you have to have her in the lineup.”
With a little over a month of play left in the season before the postseason begins, Texas returns to Austin to play a majority of its remaining contests on home soil. For a team that has played a majority of its games on the road, a welcoming change of scenery may provide a boost, especially after last weekend’s close losses.
While the past few games have been trying, the victory over the Roadrunners sets the tone for how the team hopes to perform for the rest of the year.
“I think it’s huge for us,” Clark said. “I don’t think it looks pretty on paper necessarily, but when you’re right there in the thick of it there are a lot of really great takeaways.”
The Longhorns have a tough schedule ahead, with No. 12 Oklahoma and No. 14 Baylor representing late season challenges. After already being swept by Big 12 rival Oklahoma State, the task of making the postseason is growing more and more difficult.
However, for a team that has faced adversity all season — from constant road trips to injured players battling to get back on the field — the goal is clear moving forward.
“Don’t get down, embrace the challenge,” Clark said. “I really believe that we’re going to be better because of this. Once we start getting things to unfold it’s going to be pretty special.”