Longhorns softball splits games, remain at .500

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Texas jumped out to an early lead Thursday during the Mary Nutter Classic tournament, scoring a run in the top of the first inning versus unranked UNLV. The No. 25 Longhorns added another in the third to go ahead 2-1 on a sacrifice fly by Lindsey Stephens that scored Brejae Washington. 

Starting pitcher Lauren Slatten threw 4 innings but did not finish the fifth inning before being replaced by first baseman Holly Kern. Slatten gave up three runs on nine hits, while walking two and striking out three – a season high.     

Although Texas garnered five hits to the Rebels’ 14, Texas was still in a position to win with the score tied at four heading in the seventh inning. A walk-off base hit for the Rebels handed head coach Connie Clark’s team their second straight loss in a season that has so far been defined by near victories and close misses.

Junior Gabby Smith took the mound for the Longhorns in the second game of the day against another unranked team in Cal Poly. Taylor Thom hit the 30th home run of her career with a two-run blast to right field off freshman Mustang pitcher Sierra Hyland. Thom now ties Loryn Johnson for the eighth-most home runs of all time. Taylor Hoagland — the star third baseman for the Longhorns from 2010-2013 — is the current record holder with a whopping 58 home runs, 22 more than the next best.

Lindsey Stephens extended Texas’ lead to 9-0 with a grand slam in the top of the fourth as part of a seven-run inning.  In the bottom of the fifth, the lead had become 11-0 before Cal Poly mounted a comeback with a grand slam and seven runs of their own to avoid being run-ruled.

A triple by Stephanie Ceo and sacrifice fly by Washington pushed two more across for Texas, extending their lead to six and what proved to be the final score, 13-7.  

Clark’s team stayed at .500 on the season and will look to improve that mark Friday afternoon when they take on undefeated Washington (11-0). 

The tournament will continue for Texas into the weekend with play against Fresno State and California.