One of the greatest feelings in the world is beating someone who beat you. The Longhorns got to enjoy that feeling as they successfully rebounded from Friday’s defeat with a 3-1 victory over the No. 9 Arizona Wildcats.
Much like it was Friday, pitching was the star of the game. Junior Brooke Bolinger started the game for the Longhorns, retiring the first seven Wildcats she faced before turning the ball over to redshirt junior Erica Wright, who closed the game in strong fashion.
Both pitchers followed the lead of fellow starter senior Paige von Sprecken, who pitched a solid outing in Friday’s loss. The two pitchers combined for four strikeouts and led the Longhorns to their second win over a ranked team this season.
“Going in and figuring out the umpire’s strike zone was the main thing,” Bolinger said. “He wasn’t giving the outside corner, so we had to figure out another game plan. Once we figured it, out we got the strikes that we needed at timely times.”
The Longhorns’ offense improved drastically, putting immediate pressure on Arizona in the bottom of the first. Junior Kay Kay Hayter started the offensive onslaught with a one-out infield single. Hayter then advanced to second on a wild pitch. All it took was an RBI single by freshman MK Tedder to give the Longhorns their first lead of the series.
The lead quickly doubled, as sophomore Kaitlyn Washington stepped up to the plate and drove in Tedder. The Longhorns later scored an additional insurance run on a von Sprecken RBI double, a full display of the versatility of the team’s ace pitcher.
Improvement and development have been early mantras for Texas, as the young team continues to mature and grow as a unit. The first victory over a top-10 team is a feather to add to the young team’s hat.
“That’s been kind of the theme,” Texas head coach Connie Clark said. “It’s about growth. It’s about what we’re doing right now and continuing to get better. Quite honestly, it’s good to see some of the fruits of their labor show up and get the outcome today against a quality club like Arizona.”
The win marked just the second victory over a ranked opponent at home this year out of five chances. Texas’ home record this year is 6–7.
The win improved the Longhorns’ record to 8–9, with the final game of the series against Arizona to be played Sunday. While the win is an important step in the right direction, the Longhorns cannot afford to be complacent.
“It’s just good to get the outcome today,” Clark said. “We’ve talked this week with both our team and the media that the big, ranked teams keep coming. We’ve got that type of schedule set up this year for us, so you can’t hang your head — you have to keep going.”