Late runs doom Longhorns during loss in Lubbock

Marcus Krum

What lifted Texas Softball over Texas Tech on Friday was no longer in the Longhorns’ favor in Saturday’s game two.

Late-game scoring was what proved to be the difference in Friday’s victory over the Red Raiders. Saturday, the tides turned toward Tech as the No. 15 Red Raiders scored two runs in the final two innings to beat No. 11 Texas 3-2.

Heading to the bottom of the fifth inning, the Longhorns held onto a 2-1 lead against Lubbock. The lone two runs had come off a fourth-inning home run by third baseman Shannon Rhodes. Pitcher Shea O’Leary had done a fine job in the circle in her start, throwing three innings and allowing just one unearned run.

Brooke Bolinger was on to throw for Texas, and had thrown one shutout inning previously. Yet in the fifth, she got into trouble early. Bolinger walked a hitter, allowed a hit and then walked another, loading the bases with no outs. After a strikeout, Tech picked up the game-tying run on a sacrifice fly to center field.

Bolinger got out of the inning and threw a perfect sixth, but with the pressure on in a tied seventh inning, she again worked her way into trouble with no outs. Two Red Raider hitters picked up singles to start the inning. Then, with two outs, Texas Tech infielder Breanna Russell lifted a base hit to left center, scoring the game-winner.

With another conference game coming down to the final few at-bats, the non-conference blowout wins that Texas enjoyed are no longer coming. Opportunities to add more runs at the plate came and went, and the Longhorns simply were not able to capitalize.

“Being able to have more discipline is what we’ve struggled with,” outfielder Kaitlyn Washington said after Friday’s victory.

Plate discipline was clearly something that hindered the Longhorn offense on Saturday as well. Outside of Rhodes’ bomb, Texas had three hits and failed to truly threaten to score. Texas Tech pitcher Erin Edmoundson was simply too dominant in the circle, as she threw a complete game and struck out six.

So far in conference play, Texas has had its struggles on the road. The Longhorns now move to 3–3 in Big 12 games on the road after suffering two losses to Oklahoma State in Stillwater a weekend ago. It’s been a rough go in the early goings of conference play.

Sunday, however, the Longhorns will still have an opportunity to win the series against the Red Raiders. After scoring just four runs over the last two games, the Texas offense will be looking for any sort of breakthrough on the road before they’re able to head back to Austin.