Texas’ strong start not enough, Oklahoma pulls away late to take series

Sophomore+Physical+Culture+and+Sports+major+JJ+Smith+slides+into+third+base%2C+safe.+Smith+is+a+Catcher+and+First+baseman+and+had+two+hits+and+two+doubles+in+the+game+against+UT+Arlington.

Mariah Barsotti

Sophomore Physical Culture and Sports major JJ Smith slides into third base, safe. Smith is a Catcher and First baseman and had two hits and two doubles in the game against UT Arlington.

Nick Hargroue, Sports Reporter

In what felt like déjà vu of Thursday’s game to start, Oklahoma put a world of hurt on the Longhorns with a fifth inning onslaught, ending all hope of a Texas series win. Oklahoma teed off on sophomore reliever Estelle Czech in the fifth inning, pulling away with a win of 9-1 in a five-inning run-rule victory.

Oklahoma opened up Friday’s game the same way they did on Thursday, preying on the mistakes of Texas’ defense to score their first run in the second inning. With runners on first and second base, senior catcher Mary Iakopo fired a throw to first in hopes of catching the Oklahoma baserunner off guard for the first out. However, the ball sailed into right field and allowed the Sooners to score their first run of the game without getting a single hit.

“We definitely do a lot of mental work, we talk about this stuff all the time. And it’s frustrating, especially as a coach when you know your players can do better,” head coach Mike White said. “But again, you can’t practice this kind of atmosphere and situation, and that’s what’s hopefully preparing us for later in the year.”

Sophomore first base player JJ Smith got the record-breaking crowd of 1,687 people at Red & Charline McCombs Field on their feet in her first at-bat in the second inning, crushing her first homerun of the season into the right field bleachers. Smith has mainly been used off the bench this season, but White made the decision to start her this game in place of freshman first base player Katie Cimusz, hoping for a spark.

“She’s been battling pretty hard the last couple of weeks in batting practice,” White said. “JJ was able to come in and take advantage of the situation, and will probably get another start tomorrow.”

Despite the early-game hope of a victory, Oklahoma dominated, scoring six runs in the fifth inning to destroy any chance of a Texas victory. Sophomore left fielder Alyssa Brito hit her second home-run of the game and third of the series to lead off the inning, and after freshman starter Sophia Simpson was pulled for Czech the flood-gates opened with a flurry of hits for the Sooners.

“Sometimes you just gotta change some things. I think (Sophia) was starting to walk some people, they were starting to hit her pretty hard,” White said. “We got two outs out of (the change), and then we couldn’t just stop the flow.”

Although the final score of 9-1 looks lopsided, White said his team has what it takes to compete with teams the caliber of Oklahoma. 

“The scoreboard doesn’t show how close that game was,” White said. “But, you play seven innings too and in this case it was five, so we just got to understand that when we eliminate the mistakes, we make good pitches, we can hang with this team.”

Texas will try to rebound from Friday’s loss on Saturday, with an even bigger crowd expected due to Texas legend Cat Osterman’s jersey retirement ceremony.