Texas looks to build on three-game streak against Texas Southern

Wills Layton

Last season, the Longhorns shut out Texas Southern by a score of 6-0. Texas looks to build on that performance this year as it battles Texas Southern Wednesday in Austin.

Heading into this week, the Longhorns are on the heels of a three-game win streak after sweeping Texas Tech. It was the first sweep of the year versus a Big 12 opponent and also
ended a four-game losing streak.

The sweep immediately followed a commanding defeat at the hands of the No. 8 Oklahoma Sooners. Against the Red Raiders, the offense displayed firepower, accumulating a total of 24 runs compared to the three scored in the series versus the Sooners.

“I felt like we were able to end up getting the outs,” junior pitcher Paige von Sprecken said. “I think just keeping that confidence up is definitely a big key for us in order to be successful.”

After a relatively cold stretch in which Texas struggled to score more than three runs in a given contest, the hits began to occur, culminating a season-high of 17 in Saturday’s 11-3 victory.

“We talk a lot about those in-game plans and we really want to make those consistent,” senior first baseman Kelli Hanzel said. “We really want to have those in at-bat adjustments as well as in-game adjustments.”

This year’s roster is filled with both veteran leadership and a host of newcomers, including seven seniors and six freshmen. Other newcomers are transfers such as sophomore pitcher Brooke Bolinger, who started and won one of the games of the recent sweep.

A senior who had been underperforming as of late,  Celina Felix, tallied a total of three RBIs, two doubles and two runs in the Texas Tech series. After the slow start to the season, Felix delivered a stellar performance at the twilight of her Longhorn career.

“Celina is somebody that I’ve had a couple conversations with this spring,” head coach Connie Clark said. “I think she’s getting into the flow a little bit better, and I love that because we need her and her senior leadership.”

The freshmen have continued to perform this season, contributing both leadership and intangibles on offense and defense.

During the Texas Tech series, freshmen composed of four of the daily starters. Freshman Taylor Ellsworth currently leads the team in batting average, boasting an impressive .430 mark. This kind of consistency across an entire recruiting class is something the team focuses on fostering and developing.

“They’re even keel,” Clark said. “That’s really important with our game because there is so much failure. You can almost take that class collectively and they all have that same approach, which you don’t always get.”

The star-studded freshman class will lead the Longhorns against the Texas Southern Tigers at Red and Charline McCombs Field at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.