Texas triumphs over Texas Tech to kick off the Big 12 conference play

Katie Borchetta and Tori Garcia

Texas softball dominated Texas Tech in the first Big 12 conference series with home wins both Friday and Saturday. 

Friday evening’s game started off with a home run in the first inning by the Red Raider junior infielder Arriana Villa. However, Texas kept Texas Tech at bat until the bottom of the fifth inning when freshman shortstop and second baseman Leighann Goode homered to center field, tying the game 1–1.

The Red Raiders retaliated in the top of the sixth by scoring another run.

Texas, now in a tight matchup, was able to pull through in the bottom of the seventh inning when sophomore catcher and first baseman Katie Cimusz hit a single, junior utility player Camille Corona bunted to first base and Goode singled to center field, resulting in senior outfielder Lou Gilbert to pinch run for Cimusz and score. To complete the comeback, sophomore infielder Mia Scott doubled to right center field to bring Corona home for the Longhorns to top the Red Raiders 3–2 in the seventh. 

The three runs of the day were scored by Goode, Gilbert and Corona. Goode also assisted the game with two hits and two RBI and Scott led with three hits and one RBI.

Junior Estelle Czech pitched six of the innings for Texas with 71 pitches thrown only giving up four hits and two runs. Freshman Citlaly Guitierrez came to close out the last inning in order to hold down the Raiders from scoring again, dealing 11 pitches with no hits scored.

On Saturday the Longhorns defeated the Red Raiders again with a come-from-behind method for the second consecutive game, topping Texas Tech 4–3. For the first time this season, Texas took a win after trailing by three runs.

“Once you get into conference play, anything can happen,” head coach Mike White said on Saturday. “(Texas Tech) jumped out to a big three-run lead and (Maddie Kuehl) was throwing really well against us. We were struggling a little bit, but we kept fighting and kept fighting.”

Texas Tech jumped to a quick lead over Texas in the first inning. Red Raiders’ senior infielder Ellie Bailey hit a 3-run homerun off of a two-out, 3–2 pitch to give Texas Tech some quick momentum at the plate to start the game. However, after Bailey’s homerun, the Red Raiders were only allowed three more hits for the next six innings.  

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Texas crept up to only a one-point score deficit. Junior first baseman Courtney Day led off the inning with a single to centerfield. Junior outfielder Alyssa Popelka became a pinch-runner for Day and, after approaching third base, a fielder’s choice ball allowed Popelka to get Texas on the board for the first time on Saturday. The momentum of the inning was maintained by redshirt freshman outfielder Ashton Maloney after scoring off of Scott’s at bat.  

Catcher and first baseman Reese Atwood became the hero of Saturday’s matchup. In the final out at the bottom of the sixth inning, Atwood hit a two-run home run to give Texas their first lead of the day. Atwood leads the team with seven home runs on the season.

“I knew I had to be big for my team and I had a few rough at bats to begin with throughout the game, so I knew I just needed to get inside the ball and see it,” Atwood said. “It felt good to be able to come through, though, especially after the rough beginning to the game and get the win.