Texas played far from its best softball on Wednesday night, mustering just five hits in its first game at Roadrunner Field since 2010. But those five hits were enough to sneak away with a 3-2 victory over UTSA.
Junior third baseman Celina Felix recorded three of Texas’ hits, proving to be a catalyst for the Longhorns’ lineup. Her solo home run in the seventh inning gave Texas a lead it would never relinquish.
“I’d seen [the pitcher] three times before, and I was trying to make anything happen,” Felix said on 105.3 FM about her go-ahead hi. “I wasn’t focusing on a perfect swing, just doing what I normally do. I was just swinging hard.”
A pair of Roadrunner errors helped Texas gain a lead in the top of the third. With the bases loaded and one down, senior right fielder Holly Kern sent a 3-2 pitch to the left field wall for a RBI sacrifice fly.
The Longhorns got on the board again in the following inning, taking advantage of a pair of walks to start the frame. Texas nearly missed the opportunity, but Felix ripped a two-out single to bring a run across.
UTSA catcher Tess Soefje cut the lead in half with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth. But sophomore pitcher Kristen Clark wasn’t fazed by the long ball and striking out the next two batters to end the inning.
However, Clark gave up a leadoff solo home run in the sixth to sophomore center fielder Kendall Burton, tying the game at 2-2.
Texas regained the lead in the top of the seventh off of Felix’ blast. The Longhorns had a chance at some insurance runs after senior catcher Erin Shireman sent a single up the middle, but junior pinch runner Mickenzi Krpec was thrown out at the plate attempting to score.
The Roadrunners made it interesting in the bottom of the seventh. A two-out walk followed by a perfectly executed bunt put two on for Burton, who tied the game in her previous at-bat. Burton was issued a walk to load the bases, but a fielder’s choice to shortstop ended the threat and sealed the Longhorns’ win.
Clark’s six-hit, nine-strikeout game moved her to 2–1 on the season. She showed maturity to pitch out of the late jam and keep her team in the contest despite minimal run support.
“[Clark] did great,” Felix told 105.3 FM. “When she’s confident and having a good game, it makes me feel confident because we all work together.”
Texas will be riding a five-game win streak when Texas Tech comes to Red and Charline McCombs Field this weekend.
“It’s going to be a dogfight,” head coach Connie Clark said. “They’ll come in and compete well. Staying sharp on the little things heading into a conference weekend is important for us.”