Despite an inconsistent performance throughout, the Longhorn softball team rode to a series victory by winning both games in a Saturday doubleheader against Samford, 15-2 and 1-0, at McCombs Field.
The conditions in Austin were windy and chilly, reminiscent of a road series Texas embarked on a couple of weeks ago.
“It felt just like Iowa State,” senior ace pitcher Paige von Sprecken said. “We were kind of complaining, like, ‘No, we’re back in Austin.’ But we just can’t let that affect us. We have to continue to play our game and not let the uncontrollable be a factor.”
Both games highlighted different aspects of the Texas squad — one, the offense; the other, the pitching. The first game was a blowout that ended in five innings, with the Longhorns scoring a whopping nine runs in the first inning. Von Sprecken led the team with four runs batted in, followed by freshman Janae Jefferson, who collected three of her own.
In the second game, von Sprecken put down the bat and took her place in the circle, twirling a three-hitter and shutting out Samford. Through four and two-thirds innings, she had a perfect game going. But Texas’ offense fell flat in the second game, scoring a single run in the first inning.
“Obviously, it was a tale of two games,” Texas head coach Connie Clark said. “Conditions were tough, man — it’s cold again just like when we were at Iowa State. We were pretty bang-bang out of the gate in the first game, then turned on cruise control and you just can’t do that.”
The first game of the day also saw several pitchers and pinch hitters making appearances, and it was a good showing of the work that has been put in during practice.
“We did a nice job in the early game with our pitch-identification that we had been working on,” Clark said. “It was good to see that a majority of our players weren’t chasing pitches they didn’t need to be chasing. Good to get a couple of pitchers in. We really wanted to give them some work.”
Sunday is the series finale, and Texas will look for its third consecutive sweep of the season after winning three games against both Iowa State and Kansas in back-to-back series.
It will take a balanced offense and a solid pitching performance to lock down the sweep. It will also take a solid start to get the game moving in the Longhorns’ direction early.
“We just need to come out strong like we did in the first game today,” von Sprecken said. “We need to make sure we are attacking the right pitches, have good pitch selection and keep them off balance from the circle.”
Expect to see junior ace Brooke Bolinger take the mound. Sunday’s game begins 11 a.m. at McCombs Field.