Until now, the Longhorn pitching staff could count on a prolific offense to propel the team to a win. What worked in the past could not lift the Longhorns past Stephen F. Austin, who gave the Horns their first home loss of the season 0-1.
“I think every team is going to play up for us and I think they definitely came out ready to play,” said all-American pitcher Blaire Luna. “I think their pitcher did a great job tonight.”
Junior first baseman Lexy Bennett normally leads the Texas offense with a .453 average, the best in the Big 12, and in hits with 53. Bennett was unable to produce a hit in three at-bats, which surprised the National Player of the year finalist.
“Their pitcher did a good job of keeping it down; she kept it at ground balls,” Bennett said. “That is all they were wanting and that is all they got. It was hard for us to get any extra base hits or get it through the infield.”
The Lumberjacks’ starting pitcher Carlie Thomas was able to take command of the Texas offense which is ranked eighth in the nation in batting average with a .342 and second in winning percentage with a .919. Thomas’s pitching wasn’t the only thing to blame for the lack of an offensive performance. Texas head coach Connie Clark admits that exhaustion and impatience with losing led to over-aggression at the plate that was not able to get runs across.
“I think we were helping their pitcher a little bit. We were swinging early in the count,” Clark said. “Sometimes that happens when you are playing down. I think it is because sometimes players are trying to be a little bit more aggressive and we just were not able to square it up tonight.”
Bennett described the underperforming offense in a different way. With each out, Bennett said the team relied on others to take up the slack, and no one stepped up to push a run across.
“I think sometimes maybe when you aren’t doing it you have trust in another person to do it,” Bennett said. “Maybe that was just rolling throughout the line up like a domino effect.
The offense has less than 24 hours to pick itself back up before it faces their next opponent. The Longhorns will face North Texas tonight in Austin before it hosts another Big 12 opponent, Iowa State.
“Everyone does not know what to think right now and every one is a bit disappointed,” said Bennett. “We just got to bounce back and take it to North Texas [tonight].”