Wright, Longhorns shut out North Texas before Big 12 series

Wills Layton

The Longhorns were the benefactors of a strong pitching performance on Wednesday. Redshirt sophomore Erica Wright pitched a shutout, as Texas beat the North Texas Mean Green 6-0.

The game got off to an inauspicious start, with Wright giving up a single in the first at bat of the game. However, she would not allow another hit until the fifth inning. Wright went on to record six strikeouts and no earned runs over six innings of work.

 To complement Wright’s dominant pitching performance, sophomore Brooke Bolinger came into the game in the seventh inning to shut the Green’s bats down. She recorded two strikeout against her first two batters and ended the game by inducing a ground-out to senior Devon Tunning.

 “It was good to get Erica some work tonight,” head coach Connie Clark said. “We were planning to go maybe three-deep with the rotation but she was just dealing, kind of getting into a rhythm so we wanted to stay with her and let her work through some things. Brooke coming out of the bullpen, she’s been really consistent doing that so I like it.”

 Offensively, the Longhorns opened the scoring and never looked back. 

Senior infielder Celina Felix walloped a triple and drove in two runs on the play in the bottom of the third.

In the bottom of the fifth, the offense continued to produce with an RBI fielder’s choice by pitcher and designated player junior Paige von Sprecken. In the same inning, senior infielder Kelli Hanzel hit a sacrifice fly to drive in an additional run. Sophomore infielder Bekah Alcozer drove home two more runs to finish the scoring effort by knocking a ball out of the park.

 “Yesterday we had a feel-good hitting day,” Alcozer said. “We just hit, we felt good, and today we came out and executed our plan really well. Whatever someone was going to the plate looking for that’s what we hit. We just had a really good time.”

A good portion of the offensive opportunities came on the base-paths. In the bottom of the third, on a groundout by Tunning, heady running from senior Stephanie Wong continued the inning and later resulted in two runs scoring.

In the bottom of the fifth, a potential squeeze situation was averted when freshman Kaitlyn Washington danced her way to home plate after being caught in between third and home.

“Stephanie Wong happens to have pretty good foot speed,” Clark said. It just comes down to being real heady on the bases and sometimes knowing when you have that first step or that quick read.”

With the season winding down, and only two more Big 12 series left against Kansas and No. 15 Baylor, every game counts. The game versus North Texas was a victory over a top-80 RPI team, and helps bolster the team’s resume moving into postseason.

“They’re all must win situations,” Clark said. “We are always playing to win that’s how we go out and play.”