Longhorns beat Islanders after tragic week on campus

Wills Layton

The University of Texas has dealt with the aftermath of Monday’s on-campus stabbing that left one dead. The Longhorn softball team played with heavy hearts as it shutout the Islanders of Texas A&M Corpus Christi 3-0 Wednesday evening.

Before the game started, a moment of silence was held for the victims of Monday’s attack.

“Practice was a little somber yesterday,” head coach Connie Clark said. “It’s sad. It’s just a senseless act of violence. You have to control the things you can control, be in tune with your surroundings, and pray the rest of the time. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families.”

The Longhorns’ game against the Islanders was the first game played in the aftermath of the tragedy. For the team, rallying and sticking together resulted in a shutout victory.

“We talked about it,” senior captain Kelli Hanzel said. “Not every game is guaranteed, and in life not every day is guaranteed. Just playing with heart, playing with your teammates, getting to enjoy that comradery. I feel like we brought that today.”

Redshirt sophomore Erica Wright started the contest in the circle — she collected victories in two of the past three shutout victories for the Longhorns. She pitched two perfect innings with three strikeouts before being replaced by junior Kristen Clark.

Following Clark on the mound was junior Paige von Sprecken, who was then replaced by sophomore Brooke Bolinger. Bolinger would finish the game as the four pitchers combined to throw a four-hit shut-out.

Notably, senior Tiarra Davis was held out of the game. Davis is twelve strikeouts away from having five hundred for her career, and she would become only the fifth pitcher in the Texas program to accomplish such a feat.

“It’s nice to get all the pitchers out there just to get them in some innings,” Hanzel said. “This weekend it may take all of our pitchers and I think they’re ready for it. I think this really does boost our confidence
as well.”

The team is riding the pitching staff to a very unique kind of winning streak. Texas has won four straight games dating back to last Wednesday’s matchup versus North Texas, and each has been a shutout victory.

While the pitching staff has been dominant over the last week, the offense is living up to its potential as well, as the team has scored a total of twenty-one runs. The team has averaged five runs a game during
the streak.

“I think it gives us confidence going into the weekend with Baylor,” junior captain Randel Leahy said. “Our last conference series especially against a ranked opponent is really significant for us.”

This weekend’s matchup versus No. 17 Baylor is the final series of the regular season, and Texas has the opportunity to build on their recent momentum. 

“I think it would give us swagger going into the Big 12 tournament,” Leahy said. “It would give us a chip on our shoulder.”