Gabby Smith

Sophomore shortstop Devon Tunning watches one of her two homers leave the park Tuesday. Her pair of home runs sparked the Longhorns to their ninth-straight victory.
Photo Credit: Mariana Gonzalez | Daily Texan Staff

Texas extended its winning streak to nine, defeating Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 11–2, in five innings on Tuesday afternoon behind the bat of sophomore shortstop Devon Tunning.

Tunning got things going for the Longhorns (27–9) in a hurry with a lead-off home run. She added another solo shot in the bottom of the third, making it her second multi-home-run outing in the last three games and extending her career-high on-base streak to 23 games.

“I’m just trying to get on base; that’s my job,” Tunning said. “[Pitchers are] coming at me, and I’m just seeing the ball really well. My job is to start the team off right, and it’s working out.”

Texas went on to score six runs on four hits in the initial frame, continuing the theme of fast starts and bringing its season total to 57 first-inning runs. 

Five of those runs came from a pair of two-out RBI doubles from freshman third baseman Randel Leahy and then junior second baseman Stephanie Ceo.

“Our approach has been tremendous immediately, and I think that’s something to be said about our preparation,” head coach Connie Clark said. “I’m equally, or maybe even more, excited about how many runs we’re putting up with two outs. That means that you continue to get to the next pitch and compete hard regardless of what the scoreboard says.”

Senior pitcher Gabby Smith contributed to the 11-hit offensive performance, going 2-for-2 with two RBIs. Smith earned the victory from the mound to improve to 7–1 on the season. In her first start since March 28 because of a callous on her index finger of her throwing hand, Smith gave up seven hits and struck out five in a complete-game effort.

“It was fun being back in there,” Smith said. “I definitely wanted to throw this game, I was excited about it, and it felt good.”

Smith said her finger, when wrapped in tape, feels completely fine and that she will continue to tape it up as long as is necessary.

As a tough Big 12 Conference series against No. 5 Oklahoma approaches, the Longhorns feel good about the development they’ve made. 

“As we get prepared tomorrow and Thursday, we need to be on the attack,” Clark said. “I think we have two confident teams going at it, and I think we match up very well in a lot of ways and we’ll just see how it plays out.”

The Longhorns will home to improve their nine-game winning streak as they face off against the Sooners in a three-game series at Red and Charline McCombs Field starting Friday afternoon.

Correction: This article has been amended since its original publication. Tunning extended her career-high on-base streak to 23 games.

Junior outfielder Lindsey Stephens eyes a pitch headed her way. Stephens hit a grand slam in win over UC-Santa Barbara.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

In another successful tournament, No. 25 Texas picked up four more wins to take it to a 13–7 record this weekend.

With six players hitting over .300 before the beginning of the Texas Invitational, Texas kicked off play on the Red & Charline McCombs Field with a nail-biting walk-off victory over Dartmouth. With two outs and a runner in scoring position, freshman third baseman Randel Leahy hit a game-winning double in the bottom of the seventh, scoring junior catcher Erin Shireman in the process. Freshman pitcher Erica Wright earned the win, improving her record to 4–3.

In the next game, Texas rotated its pitching staff, rekindling a veteran flame in the team.

“We’re moving them around a little bit and trying to make sure we have the best puzzle pieces set up and playing together,” head coach Connie Clark said at a press conference Wednesday. “So you may see a few different looks.”

One of these looks included senior pitcher Gabby Smith, who made her second start of the season over the weekend. 

“[Gabby’s] still working back from an injury, and she’s ready to go but just hadn’t had the number of pitches under her belt yet,” Clark said. “I think she’ll be good coming into this weekend.”

On Friday evening, Smith threw a career-tying 11 strikeouts in six innings to earn her first win this season and help Texas take down Texas Southern, 5–3. Leahy and junior center fielder Lindsey Stephens hit a home run a piece, and Shireman had a triple and two RBIs to help Texas rally from two runs down to win the game.

As temperatures dropped Saturday morning, Texas also dropped the third game of the tournament. Sophomore second baseman Mickenzi Krpec hit her first long ball, but no one else made their way around home plate as the Longhorns fell to Lamar, 9-1. After a slight freezing-rain delay, Texas fell behind early on as Lamar jumped to a 5–0 after one inning of play. Over the course of the jagged performance, the Longhorns recorded three errors to go along with their solo run and left with a 2–1 record in the tournament with two games to play.

“Anytime that you get away from focusing on yourself and you get consumed with [who the other team is], you get in trouble,” Clark said.

Sunday, the Longhorns ignored Dartmouth for their second matchup of the tournament, this time taking a 7–1 victory against the Big Green. In a role reversal, Texas batted in five runs in the first inning to start off strong. Wright, with a career-high 10 strikeouts and six hits allowed, posted another solid performance to earn her a 5–3 record, though the Big Green broke her impressive 28-inning streak of not allowing an earned run.

In their final game of the tournament, the Longhorns once again dominated Texas Southern, this time with a 4–0 win.

Texas plays North Carolina next in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in the Carolina Classic, its last tournament before the season.

The No. 25 Longhorns started strong during its trip to California this weekend but struggled in their final games to end the weekend with a 2–3 record and a season mark of 9–6.  

On Thursday, Texas compiled upsets against No. 8 Georgia and No. 12 UCLA. The Longhorns handed the Bulldogs its first loss of the season behind a three-hit, complete-game shutout from freshman pitcher Erica Wright.

The game was scoreless until senior right fielder Marlee Gabaldon knocked a double into the right-center field gap to clear the loaded bases in the top of the seventh. Junior third baseman Stephanie Ceo then hit an inside-the-park home run that dropped between Georgia’s right and center fielders to add two more runs.

Two huge defensive plays from junior center fielder Lindsey Stephens kept the Bulldogs off the board late in the game. She fired a bullet in the bottom of the fifth to throw out Georgia senior pinch runner Adele Harrison at home and then made a tough catch in the sixth to strand two Georgia runners.

Against UCLA, sophomore pitcher Tiarra Davis threw four innings and gave up just one earned run on three hits while striking out two. Senior pitcher Gabby Smith earned her first save of the season, allowing two earned runs on five hits and striking out two in the final three frames of Texas’ 5–3 win.

Junior catcher Erin Shireman, who went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs, led the Longhorns while Stephens went 1-for-2 and scored a pair of runs.

Defensively, Shireman and sophomore left fielder Stephanie Wong made big plays to help preserve the Texas victory. In the bottom of the fifth, Wong made a difficult, back-handed running catch, and Shireman fired a shot from behind the plate to throw out a UCLA runner, keeping the game in Texas’ hands.

However, Friday didn’t go as well for Texas, as a seventh-inning Longhorn rally came up short in an 8–7 loss to Fresno State. Sophomore pitcher Lauren Slatten threw the first four frames, giving up three earned runs on seven hits with five strikeouts. Freshman pitcher Kristen Clark came on in relief and took the loss, giving up the first of four runs in a big fifth inning for the Bulldogs.

Junior first baseman Holly Kern led the Longhorn on offense, going 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs. Stephens knocked a home run as well and Smith, in the game as a designated player, went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

On Friday night, Texas lost to No. 18 Missouri, 4–3. Wright pitched the entire game, allowing all four unearned runs and notching just one strikeout. Wong, Stephens and sophomore second baseman Kelli Hanzel each had an RBI. The Longhorns stranded the tying run on third in both games.

Texas closed out its weekend by losing to No. 24 Notre Dame, 5–1, on Saturday. Davis gave up four earned runs on four hits in 3.2 innings and took the loss before handing the game over to Slatten.

Smith accounted for the lone Texas score with an RBI single that scored Hanzel in the bottom of the sixth.

The Longhorns return to action this weekend at McCombs Field for the Texas Invitational.

Freshman outfielder Stephanie Wong contributed to an 11-run sixth inning Wednesday night in San Marcos, scoring the second run of the inning. Texas won the game 15-6.



Photo Credit: Helen Fernandez | Daily Texan Staff

LAFAYETTE, La. – Despite bringing in momentum from a last-inning comeback win, the Longhorns struggled both at the plate and in the field against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Freshman pitcher Tiarra Davis was rocked right from the start giving up three runs in two-and-a-third innings pitched and the Texas offense couldn’t figure out Louisiana junior ace Christina Hamilton as the Ragin’ Cajuns won 10-1, ending the Longhorns’ 2014 season.

“It’s always bitter sweet, but I’m proud of this team from start to finish,” head coach Connie Clark said.

Things got off to a rough start for Davis right from the start, after struggling in the seventh inning against Louisiana on Saturday afternoon and giving up the win. Davis allowed a double and hit a batter with one out in the first, before getting out of the jam on a fly out double play.

She wouldn’t be so lucky in the following inning. After striking out the first batter to start the inning, Davis allowed the next three batters to reach base. Following a strikeout, Cajun pinch hitter Gabby Felps ripped a two-run single off of sophomore second baseman Stephanie Ceo’s glove to give ULL the lead.

Davis would only last two batters into the third and was replaced by junior Gabby Smith, who gave up a two-run home run on the first pitch she threw.

Clark said that they were planning on using Davis as much as possible to try to force a second game.

“She’s been our ace,” Clark said. “They were getting good looks at her and we felt like a change with Gabby was a good opportunity for us.”

The Longhorn offense, on the other hand, struggled to get any sort of rhythm going against Hamilton.

Texas had a golden opportunity in the first inning, getting runners to first and second with one out, but a deep fly out and a ground out ended the chance. Then in fourth, after Smith belted a solo home run, the Longhorns loaded the bases, but senior centerfielder Brejae Washington popped out to end the inning.

Despite the missed opportunities, Washington said it wasn’t something that got them down.

“We weren’t trying to press,” Washington said. “We did get runners on at times and couldn’t find a way to push them over.

Texas ends its season short of the Super Regional for the first time since 2011 and finished the year with a record of 35-23. The senior class leaves the Forty Acres as the winningest class in Texas history with 179 in the past four seasons.

Instead of focusing on the way it ended, Washington, who leaves Texas as the program’s single-season stolen base and all-time hits record holder, said she’s going to remember the past four years, including the comeback win Saturday night.

“All four of us seniors, we’ve struggled and fought together and we’ve won big games and lost big games,” Washington said. “I think we can look back and say ‘Hey, we had a very successful career here.’ I wish the team nothing but the best and hope we left a good mark here and created a way for them to follow.”

Even though the loss at the end was tough for the Longhorns, Clark said there are some things they can take away from this experience, especially with a team that will lose only four seniors and return its entire pitching staff.

“It was a good experience for all of them,” Clark said. “It motivates you to really understand the RPI and really understand what it’s about to work your tail off to be in the top 16.”

With her 246th career base hit, senior center fielder Brejae Washington broke Texas' school record Sunday against Oklahoma State. The Longhorns stole the series with a 3-0 win Sunday.

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

It took almost the entire weekend, but senior center fielder Brejae Washington finally broke the Texas career hits record Sunday against Oklahoma State.

Washington reached on her signature bunt base hit for her 246th career base hit, passing Lexi Bennett for first on the Texas all-time hit list.

“It felt good to finally get it over with,” Washington said, after her teammates pied her in the face to celebrate.

Washington added a second-inning RBI to help Texas come back from a tough Friday loss to secure a series victory with a 3-0 win over Oklahoma State on Sunday.

“No team is going to lay down, so to come back after that and pull off the series win — we couldn’t ask for more,” Washington said.

Washington, who had a hit in each of the first two games of the series to tie the record, used her speed and the perfectly placed bunt to get to first base without a throw in the first inning. Head coach Connie Clark said she was excited for Washington, who also holds the program record for stolen bases as well when the hit came.

“She’s … just processing and continuing to not get too anxious up there,” Clark said. “I’m sure it was in the back of her head, but she didn’t play like it.”

In the first game of the series, Texas held a 3-1 lead going into the top of the seventh, but Oklahoma State rallied with four runs in the inning to triumph 5-3. Saturday, the Longhorns shut down any chance of a repeat, scorching the Cowgirl’s pitching staff for 12 runs across two innings for a 12-1 run-rule win.

Sunday’s game looked eerily similar to Friday’s. The Longhorns scored all of their runs in the second inning, thanks to two walks and three big hits. The Cowgirls continued to threaten, loading the bases once, getting runners at the corners twice, but junior pitcher Gabby Smith kept them off the board. Smith said she just focused on competing whenever she got into a jam.

“I really just needed to compete out there and take it slow,” Smith said. “I got the outcome because of that.”

All hands were on deck this weekend for Texas. Sophomore first baseman Holly Kern injured her arm in a collision at first base Saturday, forcing freshman second baseman Kelli Hanzel to start her first career game on Sunday. Freshman ace pitcher Tiarra Davis threw 187 pitches in the first two games, and Smith came in to give her the day off.

Clark said the team’s depth has been a key part of its success this season.

“We don’t even call our bench players ‘bench players’; we actually call them ‘difference makers,’” Clark said. “There’s going to be a time when we have to tap into a difference maker or two or three, and that worked out well for us.”

Texas continues conference play Friday, hosting Kansas at 7 p.m.

DENTON, Texas - After a strong Texas Invitational, the Longhorns struggled in the Judi Garman Classic over the weekend, winning only one game while giving up 22 runs and leaving 45 runners on base.

Texas reversed that trend in game one of a double header with North Texas, posting a six run first inning en route to a 10-2 win.  In the second game, junior pitcher Gabby Smith kept the Mean Green at bay, giving the Longhorns a 2-1 win.

“It was a tale of two games,” head coach Connie Clark said. “Those are great for our experience as we get geared up and ready for conference.”

The Longhorns (16-3) got off to a fast start in the first game of the day with the first four batters reaching base. After Davis grounded out to put Texas up 2-0, freshman left fielder Stephanie Wong hit a three-run homer to right field and senior catcher Mandy Ogle followed with a solo shot to extend the lead to 6-0.

“It was tremendous,” Clark said. “We’ve been so close and had opportunities. At some point the game starts to pay you back”

That would be all the support Davis would need in the circle. She struck-out a career-high 13 batters and allowed only three hits. The only blemish for Davis came in the fourth inning when she gave up a double and walked three batters to allow the only two North Texas runs of the game.

Clark said she was glad to have Davis back after a minor injury kept her out of the final game of the weekend.

“She felt great today and ready to go and I thought that was significant,” Clark said.

The second game was quickly turned into a pitchers duel. North Texas’ Madison Thompson and Texas’ Gabby Smith held the offenses scorless through the first four innings. Sophomore second baseman Stephanie Ceo ended Thompson’s no-hit bid in the fifth with an infield single and then scored on a double to right by senior shortstop Taylor Thom. In the sixth, sophomore right fielder Lindsey Stephens hit her tenth home run of the year to extend the Texas lead to 2-1.

In the bottom of the seventh, however, the Mean Green (16-7) rallied for a comeback attempt. With two on and two outs, Brooke Foster drew a walk to load the bases and Spencer Ferrell hit an infield single to trim the Texas lead to 2-1. But Smith came back to strike out Danielle Hoff on four pitches to end the game.

Clark said that it was big for them to get a close win after coming close in those situations all year.

“We absolutely need that,” Clark said. “It’s good to get that feel and be able to win a tight one.”

The doubleheader was the end of a seven-day road trip for the Longhorns. After a tough walk-off loss to Long Beach Sunday, Texas flew straight to Dallas. Clark said being away from home for so long worried her going into the game.

“I was concerned about flying in yesterday and having to play two games today,” Clark said.

Texas now heads back to Austin for a three game series against Iowa this weekend.

With sophomore outfielder Erin Shireman on deck, sophomore first baseman Holly Kern and the Longhorns whiffed in the home opener Wednesday night 4-2 to UTSA. After averaging six runs a game in its first sex games, No. 15 Texas struggled to score. 

Photo Credit: Shweta Gulati | Daily Texan Staff

Getting runners on base was easy for the No. 15 Longhorns. Getting those runners across was another story.

Texas left 16 runners on base, while UTSA capitalized on its scoring opportunities as the Longhorns fell 4-2 for their first home-opening loss since 2007 Wednesday night. 

“We were getting runners on and we were making things happen, but we weren’t getting them in,” sophomore first baseman Holly Kern said.

After averaging six runs in its first six games, Texas (4-3) struggled to score with runners on base. The Longhorns loaded the bases in five innings, but only scored in one, leaving 16 runners on base. 

Kern said UTSA freshma starting pitcher Nicole Merril threw a number of off-speed pitches, which the Longhorns had trouble hitting in those key spots.

“We kind of needed to slow it down and look for that pitch and square it up,” Kern said. “And I don’t think we did a good job of that.”

UTSA (4-0) played a big part in contributing to Texas’ only two runs of the game, committing three errors in the second while Texas had just one hit in the inning.

The Roadrunners, on the other hand, took advantage of their opportunities. After trailing for most of the game, UTSA pulled within one in the fourth on a bloop RBI single and then seized a 3-2 lead on a two-run home run by junior catcher Megan Low.

“[Low] jumped on the first pitch and put a pretty good bat on it,” Smith said. “I kind of left it over the plate, and she hit it over.”

In the sixth, UTSA tacked on an insurance run with a triple followed by a sacrficial flyball.

Texas had a chance to tie the game in the seventh when freshman shortstop Devon Tunning and junior Marlee Gabaldon got to second and third, respectively, with one out, but senior outfielder Brejae Washington grounded out and sophomore Lindsey Stephens flied out to center field.

Junior pitcher Gabby Smith had a solid outing until the fifth inning. Smith had four strikeouts in five innings pitched.

Kern led what offense Texas had, going 2-for-4 and scoring the game’s first run of the game.

The loss is the third-straight defeat for the Longhorns, who began the year with four wins, including three victories against ranked opponents. Texas will be back in action this weekend, taking on Kentucky, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and Louisiana Tech in the Texas Classic.

Going forward, Smith said the team can’t look back at these past few losses.

“We just have to stay positive,” Smith said.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

The 10th-ranked Longhorns will play their home opener Wednesday when they host the San Antonio Roadrunners, who will take on a high-powered Texas offense led by senior All-American Taylor Thom. Texas junior pitcher Gabby Smith will likely get the start, trying to pick up her third win in as many games and improve the Longhorns to 5-2 on the season.

For UTSA freshman and Austin native Nicole Merrill, Wednesday’s game will be a homecoming of sorts. A star player at Cedar Ridge High School, Merrill led her team to a playoff berth her senior season and was named to the Austin area’s annual all-star game.  Merrill got the start when the Roadrunners took on Lamar in their second game this season, allowing two runs on four hits through five innings.

Merrill played for the Texas Blaze select team alongside current Texas freshman Stephanie Wong. Known for her control and ball movement, Merrill throws upwards of 60 mph and uses a wicked change-up to keep hitters off balance. 

Four days after picking up her 700th career win, Texas head coach Connie Clark looks for her team to continue their string of opening day successes, having won every home opener in the last six years. Historically, the matchup has been lopsided, with Texas getting the better of UTSA. 

The previous four times these two teams have faced each other, Texas won each time by a combined score of 28-3. The two teams met in 2010 and again in 2011, in which the Longhorns won 3-2 and 2-1 respectively. Most recently in 2012, the then 18th-ranked Longhorns routed the Roadrunners in a 15-0 victory, featuring 19 hits. Catcher Mandy Ogle is 3-for-3 with 2 RBIs.

Over the past four seasons, the Longhorns have combined for a 122-22 record at home, and are coming off a season with a .836 winning percentage and a top-four finish at the College World Series. 

Expect Texas to come out swinging after a strong offensive showing to start the season. The team has scored 37 runs while surrendering 25 through the first six games. 

Pitching remains an uncertainty with Texas, however. With an inexperienced staff headlined by junior Gabby Smith, Texas pitchers can expect to see a lot of action this season as the coaching staff tries to establish a reliable rotation before conference play begins.

The Longhorns opened the 2014 season with a bang, blasting two home runs en route to a 6-1 victory over then-No. 17 LSU Tigers. Senior shortstop Taylor Thom went the distance in the top of the third inning, clearing the left field fence to put Texas ahead 5-1 and extending her career home run mark to 29.  

“Thom made a very nice adjustment at bat,” head coach Connie Clark said. “She was really looking for one pitch and I kept seeing them working her in one location, and she met her time.”

Sophomore utility player Lindsey Stephens opened the sixth inning with a leadoff home run to expand Texas’ lead to five. Junior pitcher Gabby Smith had a strong outing in the circle for the No. 10 Longhorns, pitching a complete game on 99 pitches while striking out two. Smith was the frontrunner to be the ace coming into Thursday’s opener.  

Clark’s squad continued its hot offensive streak when Texas next took the field against North Carolina in the 28th Annual Louisiana Classic. Freshman pitcher Lauren Slatten got the start and delivered six innings for the Longhorns, surrendering three runs on four hits while striking out one and walking two — a solid performance for the right-handed rookie.  

Against No. 13 Louisiana-Lafayette, senior outfielder Brejae Washington headed a comeback as she scored five runs on 4-for-8 hitting to compensate for five first-inning runs surrendered to the Ragin’ Cajuns.  Texas’ current leader in stolen bases, Washington added four on the day to raise her career mark to 101. Thom rounded out Washington’s success with another monster performance at the plate, producing a team-high five hits in eight appearances. 

Texas’ rematch with Louisiana-Lafayette was more than just Texas’ fourth straight victory. It also marked Clark’s 700th career win. A day after narrowly beating the host team, the Longhorns handed the Cajuns their second loss in as many days. Stephens belted a three-run home run — her third of the year — to grab a lead the Longhorns would never forfeit. Gabby Smith, still undefeated as a starter, earned the 7-3 win.  

But Saturday’s slate of games closed with the Longhorns’ first loss of the season. Texas fell 6-3 to Northern Iowa after the Panthers exploded for six first-inning runs off of sophomore pitcher Holly Kern.

Still shaky from its first loss, Texas again dropped its Sunday match 5-4. Texas posed a late threat in the fifth to bring the score within one but only managed to strand its first two runners on base. Sophomore Erin Shireman hit her third home run of the season to tie Stephens for the team lead.

Texas will open its home season Wednesday as it hosts UTSA.    

Junior Gabby Smith starred for Texas against LSU on Thursday, pitching seven strong innings.

Photo Credit: Shweta Gulati | Daily Texan Staff

After a long offseason of facing the same batters and the same pitchers, the first tournament of the season is an exciting moment for teams.

Playing five games over the course of three or four days allows coaches to see who their starters will be conference play starts, and young players are able to get used to the college game.

“Going into the first tournament is always exciting,” junior pitcher Gabby Smith said. “It’s preseason and it’s just so much fun.”

The Longhorns will play their first tournament of the year away from home for the first time since 2007, electing to compete in the Louisiana Classic in Lafayette, La. Texas will face North Carolina, Louisiana-Lafayette, Purdue and Northern Iowa in the three-day tournament.

While Texas comes in as the highest-ranked team in the tournament — ranked No. 10 by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association — they’ll face stiff competition, particularly from Louisiana-Lafayette.

The Ragin’ Cajuns are coming off of a run to the Super Regional where they fell to Michigan. This season, they are ranked No. 13 in the preseason ranking and pitcher Jordan Wallace is looking to continue her success from a year ago when she was 32-9 with 382 strikeouts.

The Longhorns swept all three games the two teams played last year, but head coach Connie Clark knows it will be different this time around playing in Lafayette.

“They usually draw pretty well and they really enjoy their softball down there,” Clark said.

Texas will face North Carolina in its first game of the tournament. The Tar Heels finished last season 40-21 and made it into the NCAA tournament. They return 10 of their key players, including pitcher Lori Spingola, who went 30-15 last year with a 2.50 ERA and 304 strikeouts.

Clark said starting the season with both of those teams will be a needed challenge for the Longhorns.

“I think that’s exactly what we need to get these young players into the fire as quickly as we can,” Clark said.

The Longhorns are coming off of a 6-1 win over LSU in their opening game of the season. Senior shortstop Taylor Thom boosted the Texas offense with a three-run home run in the fifth to put the game out of hand. Junior pitcher Gabby Smith allowed only one unearned run and struck out two in the complete game.

The Louisiana Classic is part of a tough non-conference schedule for Texas, who will also play Arizona State, Michigan and Washington — all of which are ranked in the top 10 going into the season. With seven freshmen joining the Longhorns for 2014, senior shortstop Taylor Thom said the team’s focus for the tournament and the rest of the non-conference schedule will be consistency.

“There are a lot of new faces out there and not a lot of experience, so we’re just going to have to continue to work through the ups and downs,” Thom said.

But now that the Longhorns are playing someone other than themselves, Smith said they’re ready to go out and have fun.

“I know we’re all really anxious to have a different opponent,” Smith said. “It’s going to be good to see different batters.”