Longhorns win first game of series in frigid weather

Wills Layton

Despite temperatures in the 30s, the Longhorns came away with an 8-5 victory over the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames, Iowa, on Thursday evening.

“Obviously it feels good to get the ‘W,’” Texas head coach Connie Clark said. “I really appreciated our energy today. It was a challenge, and we knew it was going to be due to the weather. We talked about how we couldn’t control it, so don’t worry about it.”

For context, the temperature in Austin on Thursday evening hit a very manageable 80 degrees. But the road trip brought the team back a couple months, back into winter.

“I’m not going to lie, that was one of the coldest days I can recall in our playing days,” Clark said. “It made the game a little challenging. Gripping the ball and just some of the things become an issue. But again we just continued to compete and got the outcome.”

The temperature was cold enough at one point to freeze water, and yet the Longhorns’ bats stayed hot. Texas scored four runs in the first two innings and eight runs total to continue its torrid pace that began when Big 12 play started.

In three of the past four games of conference play, the Longhorns have scored in the first inning, getting the team in a good position and allowing pitchers to relax on the mound.

“It’s a matter of the team’s sense of urgency,” Clark said. “Maturity tends to come with a ball club filled with veterans. Just getting the newcomers to understand that you can’t just settle into games.”

The pitching staff was once again solid for Texas, as junior ace Brooke Bolinger pitched a 4.2 quality inning with five strikeouts. Junior Erica Wright came in for relief and picked up her fifth save of the season.

The Longhorns’ performance on Thursday was well-rounded, and Texas has good momentum for the rest of the series.

“I think we played great today,” sophomore Kaitlyn Washington said. “We were out there freezing with the wind blowing, but I think we all went somewhere mentally to where we could think about every pitch and kind of block it out.”

Texas will play a doubleheader tomorrow in Ames starting at 12:30 p.m. Look for senior ace Paige von Sprecken to take the mound to try to clinch the series.