It wasn’t one of those days where balls were flying off Texas bats. In fact, it was quite the opposite.
Yet, the Longhorns didn’t need that to pick up another one in the win column Friday. Manufacturing a pair of runs late in the game, Texas was able to slip by Texas Tech, 2-0, in Lubbock.
After center fielder Reagan Hathaway led things off with a double, only two more times did a Longhorn batter pick up a hit. One of them was Hathaway at the most opportune time in the sixth.
With one out and a runner on first, she punched a single to the right side, sending outfielder Bekah Alcozer to third. On the ensuing at-bat, second baseman Janae Jefferson hit a ground ball to short. Alcozer ran home and beat out the throw, scoring the first run of the ballgame.
Three at-bats later, outfielder Kaitlyn Washington was up with the bases loaded and a chance to add more to the lead. Washington was hit by a pitch, sending home the only other run of the contest. With nothing going right offensively for the Longhorns, all it took was a couple breaks for the game-winning runs to reach the plate.
“We looked a little flat as a team, but we grinded a win out,” pitcher and designated player Miranda Elish said. “If we can grind a win out looking that flat, I’m excited to see what we can do when we don’t look like that.”
Elish looked anything but flat in the circle. Although it may not have been the cleanest of her seven shutouts this season, she kept the Red Raiders off the board and settled in by the end, retiring nine of the final 10 batters she faced. She threw 99 pitches in her full seven innings of work, allowing five hits and striking out six.
“I feel like I pitched well enough, attacking the zone,” Elish said. “Mary and I were working really great together. (Head) coach (Mike) White was calling a good game.”
With a strong conference season ahead, the series in Lubbock provides a great test early on in Big 12 play. As Texas’ ace pitcher, Elish did exactly what was needed of her in the series opener when the bats simply weren’t working.
The No. 15 Red Raiders are no push-over opponent. Yet the Longhorns were not satisfied with a tight victory like Friday’s. They know the performance of the offense left much to be desired, and while the win came, it’s going to take much more to win the series.
“We just need to come out with a lot more energy,” Elish said. “Today, we just really didn’t have it. Sometimes, we think we’re going to win, we expect to win. We just need to learn that we have to fight no matter what and we want to put up as many runs on a team as we can.”