Longhorns complete sweep of Samford

Wills Layton

The Longhorns’ brooms are getting a lot of work in so far this season. Texas completed its third series sweep in a row with a 4-0 victory over Samford on Sunday.

The consistency on offense and strong pitching performances have helped make the team hard to beat — Texas has 11 wins in its last 12 matchups to prove it.

“I think we have high expectations,” Texas head coach Connie Clark said. “I think they have a good sense of reality and understand that it’s about the whole season, not what we are going to do this weekend or the next two weekends.”

In Sunday’s game, the team continued the trend of scoring in the first inning. The team has done so in seven of the past eight games, creating early momentum for the offense and a sense of security for the pitching staff.

“I think we are being a lot more aggressive at the plate,” said sophomore Malory Schattle. “We’re getting a lot of walks, but we’re also attacking first pitches as well. When we do that, we really put a lot of stress on the other team’s pitchers, so it forces them to be a little wild or throw it right down the middle.”

Sophomore catcher Taylor Ellsworth and senior pitcher Paige von Sprecken both hit home runs during the contest, with Ellsworth’s three-run shot in the bottom of the first, getting the Longhorns out to the early lead. 

Von Sprecken added her solo shot in the bottom of the third, further cementing her status as a star two-way player at the plate and in the circle. 

“We came out really strong,” von Sprecken said. “So we just need to make sure we come out strong and fight through every one of our games. It was a good three wins for us.”

In the circle for the Longhorns was junior ace Brooke Bolinger, who pitched a strong five innings and collected  nine strikeouts while allowing only a single hit.

Junior Erica Wright came into the game to close out the victory, pitching two scoreless innings and striking out three batters. Throughout the series, a total of five pitchers made appearances —  almost the entire pitching staff. 

The depth the team boasts played a large role in the final two shutouts that concluded the series. Both of the team’s aces, von Sprecken and Bolinger, started in games two and three, while the third-best pitcher on the team, Kristen Clark, started the first game which ended in a 15-2 blowout.

“I think it’s definitely an advantage that we have six pitchers,” senior captain Randel Leahy said. “Having six pitchers allows us to take someone out of the bullpen and have the opponent not know what to expect.”

The sweep brings the team’s record to 23-14, including a perfect conference record of 6-0. The team will travel to San Marcos to face No. 25 Texas State on Wednesday.

“Just the confidence piece of getting the sweep,” Wright said. “Confidence is a huge deal so taking that away from a sweep will be great moving forward.”