Despite two-hour rain delay, Texas downs Texas Southern 6-0

Robert Larkin

During a rain delay, you can find softball players entertaining themselves in any way they can. Some take batting practice. Others watch movies.

With the rain pouring down on McCombs Field during a two-hour rain delay Wednesday night, senior pitchers Kristen Clark and Paige von Sprecken found themselves in a discussion about the short time they have left at Texas.

“We were talking before the game, and it is very bittersweet,” Clark said. “I think all of us are trying to have as much fun as we can and making every moment last.”

Clark and von Sprecken did their best in making Wednesday night a memorable performance, combining for a complete-game shutout alongside redshirt junior pitcher Erica Wright to give the Longhorns (28–18) a 6-0 victory over Texas Southern.

Clark earned her second victory of the season, while von Sprecken picked up her first save this year for the Longhorns.

“I specifically wanted to give those three work and bring (von Sprecken) out of the bullpen,” Texas head coach Connie Clark said. “As we move forward, it’s good experience because we may need her in the bullpen going down the stretch.”

Wright was impressive during the three innings she started in the circle.

After allowing the first runner she faced to reach base on a softly hit ball to shortstop, the redshirt junior rolled from there, retiring the final nine hitters in order to end her strong three-inning start.

A mundane night at the plate finally subsided for the Longhorns in the third after junior center fielder Ki’Audra Hayter and freshman second baseman Janae Jefferson reached base consecutively to start the frame.

With runners in scoring position after a sacrifice bunt, sophomore left fielder Kaitlyn Washington brought home the Longhorns’ first run of the night, lining a sharp grounder off the shin of Texas Southern junior pitcher Tyra Williams for an infield single, which scored Hayter.

Sophomore catcher Taylor Ellsworth added to the Texas advantage just a few pitches later, driving a pitch to right-center field for a sacrifice fly that scored Jefferson and granted the Longhorns a 2-0 lead.

Entering the game in the fourth inning with a two-run advantage, Kristen Clark made easy work of Texas Southern’s lineup in her first inning of relief. But she ran into trouble in the fifth after allowing a lead-off single turned into a runner at third base with two outs.

Clark quickly induced a soft line out to freshman third baseman MK Tedder to retire the side and maintain the scoreless shutout.

“Erica (Wright) really set the table for me to keep throwing strikes and keep attacking batters as she was doing,” Clark said. “It was really nice to be in the middle of her and (von Sprecken) because they do a good job attacking the hitters.”

The Texas offense responded with an abundance of insurance runs in a four-run sixth inning, highlighted by three doubles by sophomore shortstop Kaitlyn Slack, Jefferson and von Sprecken in addition to an RBI walk from senior right fielder Randel Leahy.

It was plenty of support for von Sprecken, who closed the door on Texas Southern.

Next, the Longhorns will travel to Norman, Oklahoma, to take on the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners in a three-game series this weekend.