Longhorns blown out in delayed finish to Arizona series

Wills Layton

Earlier this season, the Longhorns struggled to defeat ranked teams, especially at home. This weekend, they beat a top-10 team, defeating the No. 9 Arizona Wildcats on Saturday. But Texas still lost the series due to a 2-0 loss on Friday and a 10-2 blowout loss on Sunday.
Despite the series loss, the victory on Saturday could prove to be a turning point for the team, which had not won a game over a top-10 team since 2015 and had not beaten Arizona since 2006.
The trick to winning on Saturday was a revived offense. After the loss on Friday, the Longhorns scored three runs and held on for a 3-1 victory.
“It’s really big. We needed that,” junior pitcher Brooke Bolinger said. “I think just coming out and hitting the ball hard and getting those timely hits was big.”
But Texas had to deal with several rain delays on Sunday. The longest began during the top of the second inning and lasted for half an hour. It took the pitchers off the mound for a good amount of time.
Senior ace Paige von Sprecken started two games this weekend and pitched a solid game in Friday’s loss. But she was the losing pitcher in Sunday’s game.
Von Sprecken delivered a weaker performance Sunday than Friday, allowing the Wildcats to score four runs. The offense also struggled to muster up the run support necessary to stay in the game in the rainy conditions.
With the offense failing to give von Sprecken the run support she needed, Texas was not able to silence Arizona in the series finale for a much needed series win. But that did not deter how well von Sprecken kept her composure on the mound.
“Just trusting that the offense was going to be able to come around,” von Sprecken said. “I just wanted to keep us in a position where we could come back and win a game. Definitely just trying to keep that come-from-behind mentality.”
Sunday’s performance was another example of von Sprecken’s hard work during the early season campaign. The loss brought her record for the season to 3–4. Her ERA currently sits very comfortably a little above two.
Von Sprecken has been no slouch at the plate either. In Saturday’s game, she drove in a key insurance run in the form of an RBI double.
When called upon, von Sprecken has been there for the team all season long, playing first base in Sunday’s game when she was pulled from the mound in favor of Bolinger in the top of the fourth.
“She’s just got such a great mentality,” Texas head coach Connie Clark said. “It’s her senior year and she’s had lofty goals from day one and continues to compete very well. She just continues to have fun with it.”
The offense struggled mightily in Sunday’s game, whether it was due to playing against Arizona’s ace pitcher, junior Taylor McQuillin, or the weather. The Longhorns lost 10-2, with the two runs coming on a two-run homer by junior outfielder Bekah Alcozer in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“Obviously we’ve had some close battles,” Clark said. “Prior to coming into this weekend, we’ve talked about not focusing too much on outcomes because sometimes you can’t control those. You want to work on the process.”