Houston snaps Longhorns’ seven-game winning streak

Wills Layton

All good things must come to an end. The Longhorns’ winning streak ended at seven games on Tuesday night with a 3-1 road loss to the Houston Cougars.

Texas (19–14, 6–0 Big 12) started out the game much like any other as of late — by scoring in the first inning. Freshman M.K. Tedder grounded out to second as fellow freshman Janae Jefferson came across home plate to score. But in the bottom of the first, Houston hit a three-run home run that proved to be the difference.

The Texas offense tried to rally in the top of the seventh but came up short as a batted ball hit one of the Longhorn runners, forcing an out. It was a stroke of bad luck for the team. The red-hot offense cooled off considerably Tuesday night in Houston, after scoring an average of nine runs per game in the team’s previous three games.

“I don’t think we made adjustments quick enough at the plate,” Texas head coach Connie Clark said. “I thought we looked better down the stretch and had some great at-bats in the seventh inning, but we have to make quicker adjustments. I think if you look at our record, when we don’t out-hit our opponents, I don’t think our record is too solid.”

Junior ace pitcher Brooke Bolinger started the game for the Longhorns and, other than the three-run home run in the first frame, limited the Cougars to no runs over her next three innings. She failed to receive the run support necessary to pick up the win.

“I think if she could take back the one pitch on the big damage, she would,” Clark said. “I just thought she didn’t have great command in the first inning. I thought she settled in, found her off-speed and gave us what we needed.”

Senior pitcher Kristen Clark entered the game for relief, allowing two hits and no runs in two innings of work. She allowed the Longhorns to stay in the game and keep hope of a rally alive.

“To have Kris come in, being a Houstonian, and being able to get her into the game was good,” Clark said. “She spun the ball very well. As a senior, I thought she was tough as nails mentally and kept us in it and gave us a chance.”

Aside from losing the game, the Longhorns suffered a very scary moment in the top of the first. Jefferson laid down a bunt and, as she crossed first base, promptly crumpled to the ground.

“I kind of hyperextended my left leg, so that was kind of scary,” Jefferson said after the game. “But I’m all good now. Everything is fine.”

Jefferson has been a bright spot on the team this season, growing into a valuable offensive weapon and serving primarily as the team’s lead-off hitter and starting second baseman. She later came around to score the only run of the game for Texas.

The Longhorns host UTSA on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.