Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

No. 1/1 Texas softball heads to Women’s College World Series championship series after win against No. 8/8 Stanford

Skyler Sharp

All Texas softball needed was one run.

No. 8/8 Stanford made No. 1/1 Texas work for it. After facing the Longhorns late last week and twice earlier in the season, the Cardinals were very familiar with how the Longhorns played. So it wasn’t until the top of the seventh inning that the Longhorns got a runner home and ended the game 1-0 to move on to the Women’s College World Series championship series.

“That was an old-fashioned ball game right there,” head coach Mike White said. “Two tremendous pitchers going at it, whoever blinks first was going to win that game.”

For Texas, it was freshman pitcher Teagan Kavan who calmly stared down each of the 22 batters faced. After holding the Cardinals without a run for the second time in the past week, White joked that he now calls her “Ice-Kavan.”

Even though Kavan didn’t have as much of a cushion on the scoreboard as she did in the last Stanford faceoff, when the Longhorns won 4-0, Kavan looked comfortable in the circle. 

“I honestly was more calm today (than last week),” Kavan said. “I was more in control of my breathing, I felt more in control of the game and I had no doubt that we would pull through.”

Kavan and Stanford’s pitcher, sophomore NiJaree Canady, both struck out seven batters through the seven innings pitched. The two young pitchers would have continued to battle on the field if not for costly mistakes by Stanford’s defense. 

It was the Longhorn’s first solo captain, senior infielder Alyssa Washington, who took the lead. First to bat in the inning, Washington hit a ground ball to the right side.

It should have been a routine out. But the ball spun off the heel of the Cardinal second baseman’s glove, allowing Washington to make it on base.

Then senior infielder Joley Mitchell stepped up to the plate. Mitchell cracked a ground ball through the left side, just out of reach of a diving Stanford player.

“I was just focused on keeping the ball down,” Mitchell said. “Trying to stay away from pitches that were up, pitches that were in and just trying to make contact.”

With Washington on third base, redshirt sophomore outfielder Ashton Maloney used her signature bunt.

But the bunt put Washington in a tough place. Stuck in a rundown between third and home, Washington’s speed helped her escape the tag.

“At first, my initial reaction was ‘go,’” Washington said. “The pitcher had got it, so I kind of froze up a little bit, but instead of going back, I wanted to beat her and get into that rundown.”

As Washington got closer to home, she began to slide, getting her head low to the ground and reaching as far as she could for the plate.

“Just recognizing where the catcher was standing,” Washington said about her slide. “The third baseman … when she was chasing me down, instead of the ball (being) in her hand, (it was) in her glove. So recognizing that (was) going to take a little time with that transfer to get it in there.”

Stanford challenged the play, but the call was upheld: Washington was safe.

“In a ball game like (this), it just takes one run to get ahead,” Washington said.

With the one run, Texas moves on to play in the championship series, starting at 7 p.m. CST on June 5, against the Oklahoma and Florida matchup winner.

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