Texas softball overcomes Texas Tech in close 8-inning matchup, advances in Big 12 Championship tournament


Alisha Dulaney

Freshman right-handed Citlaly Gutierrez throws a pitch at home opener against Lamar University on Feb. 15, 2023.

Katie Borchetta, General Sports Reporter

No. 2-seeded Texas softball mounted an impressive comeback win against No. 7-seeded Texas Tech in Oklahoma City in the first round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Softball Championship.

Earlier this season, Texas was able to sweep the Raiders in a three-game season in Austin. However, in this matchup, sophomore pitcher Mac Morgan started off shaky in the top of the first inning with two hits and two runs scored against Texas.

In the bottom of the second inning, Texas was able to come back when sophomore catcher and first baseman Katie Cimusz was walked, followed by sophomore utility player Vanessa Quiroga doubling to right field, letting Cimusz score. Junior outfielder Alyssa Popelka later scored in the inning on an error tying the score at 2.

By the top of the fourth, Texas changed to sophomore pitcher Sophia Simpson in hopes of stopping the Raiders’ offensive game; however, Texas Tech junior infielder Riley Love launched a three-run homerun to left field, giving the Raiders a 5-2 lead.

Junior pitcher Estelle Czech came in the top of the fifth in Texas’ effort to shut down the Red Raiders, which seemed to be a tough task after another run was scored, furthering the score 6-2.

Texas Tech’s strategy of constantly changing pitchers seemed to keep Texas on their toes and did an effective job of preventing their scoring. Tech changed their pitchers three times within the first three innings and had six different pitchers overall.

Freshman shortstop and second baseman Leighann Goode hit a double in the bottom of the sixth, which was then followed by a home run by junior outfielder Bella Dayton, giving Texas two more runs and a close enough gap in the score for redemption.

The bottom of the seventh showed the relentless mentality of Texas softball when Cimusz hit a lead-off homerun on a 0-2 pitch count. Directly following the run, Quiroga hit a home run on a 2-2 pitch, tying the score 6-6 and forcing the game to go into extra innings.

It all came down to the bottom of the eighth inning. Dayton hit a lead-off single and later advanced to second on an error. Freshman catcher and first baseman Reese Atwood reached first after getting hit by a pitch. Freshman shortstop and second baseman Viviana Martinez hit a bunt and sacrificed herself to move Dayton and Atwood to third and second base, respectively. Cimusz also got hit by a pitch making the bases loaded for Texas. The Red Raiders then threw a wild pitch, allowing Dayton to score and ending the game with a close 7-6 score.

Texas will now have to take on the winner of the Oklahoma State and Kansas matchup and will play on May 12 at 5 p.m.