No. 17/16 Softball complete road series sweep at Texas Tech

LUBBOCK, Texas – On Saturday afternoon at Rocky Johnson Field, No. 17/16 Texas softball (35-15-1, 10-5 Big 12 Conference) completed a road series sweep of Texas Tech (22-26, 5-13 Big 12 Conference) by taking both ends of a doubleheader, 11-1 (5 inn.) & 7-6.

Notes

  • Texas’ five-run, first-inning outburst in game one tied for the second most runs the Longhorns have scored during an opening frame this season behind only a six-run outburst in an 11-2 (5 inn.) Rout of Kansas in Lawrence on March 27.
  • In the fourth inning of Saturday’s opener, senior second baseman Janae Jefferson scored her 200th career run to join former Texas standout Taylor Hoagland (221 runs – 2010-13) as the only UT players to reach the 200-run milestone.
  • With three HR’s during game one, Texas has now hit multiple HRs in a single contest 13 times in 2022.
  • Freshman pitcher Sophia Simpson picked up her first collegiate save by tossing two-thirds of an inning of relief to wrap up the final doubleheader.
  • With a double in Saturday’s opener, Jefferson now has 47 doubles in her career, just one from tying the Texas career doubles record currently held by former Longhorns Jodi Reeves and Kaitlyn Washington.
  • In game one, sophomore pitcher Logan Hulon returned from a lengthy injury break to toss a scoreless fifth, marking her first work from the circle since March 6 against Miami (OH).
  • By fighting out of a 2-0, second-inning hole in game two, Texas rallied from a deficit to win a game for the 14th time this season and the second time this weekend.

Major Players

Game One:

Freshman third baseman My Scott (1-for-2, two runs, two walks, HR, three RBIs); junior first baseman McKenzie Parker (1-for-3, run, HR, three RBIs); sophomore shortstop Alyssa Washington (1-for-2, walk, two RBIs); freshman catcher Katie Cimusz (2-for-4, run, two doubles, RBI); senior second baseman Janae Jefferson (2-for-3, three runs, walk, double); sophomore left fielder Courtney Day (1-for-3, run, HR, RBI)

Game Two:

Scott (2-for-3, run, RBI); Jefferson (1-for-3, run, RBI); senior first baseman Mary James (2-for-4, double, two RBIs); Washington (2-for-4, two runs, HR, RBI); junior outfielder Lou Gilbert (2-for-2, run, RBI); sophomore center fielder Alyssa Popelka (1-for-3, run)

In the Circle

Game One:

Freshman Sophia Simpson (7-4) picked up the win after allowing one earned run on just two hits with a walk and five strikeouts over 4.0 innings of work. Sophomore Logan Hulon returned from a lengthy injury break to toss a scoreless fifth frame while allowing one hit and striking out one.

Game Two:

Senior Hailey Dolcini (16-7) picked up the win after permitting three earned runs on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts over 4.1 innings of relief. Simpson recorded her first career save by tossing a perfect 0.2 of an inning out of the bullpen.

The Details

Game One:

Texas wasted no time getting off to a quick start against Texas Tech starter Erna Carlin in the top of the first. Jefferson singled through the left side to open the game, while Scott followed with a walk to put the first two aboard. With both speedsters in scoring position on a wild pitch, Parker stepped to the plate and blasted a three-run HR to right to boost the Longhorns to a 3-0 advantage. Following an Iakopo walk, sophomore outfielder Bella Dayton was summoned into the game to pinch run. The Wylie, Texas, native demonstrated her blazing speed by stealing second, moving to third on a wild pitch and scoring on a Washington groundout. The lead eventually grew to 5-0 as Day blasted her ninth HR of the season out to left center.

With Simpson having struck out a pair while firing two scoreless innings from the circle, Cimusz got the Longhorns offense going again by christening the third on a double to right. Washington stepped up and immediately bounced a RBI single up the middle to make it 6-0.

Texas Tech pulled a run back in the bottom of the third as center fielder Peyton Blythe hit a solo HR to right center to cut the Red Raider deficit to 6-1.

Back-to-back Popelka and Jefferson walks got Texas rolling again to begin the fourth. That set the stage for Scott to demonstrate her power as the Angleton, Texas, native launched a three-run HR to center left for a 9-1 lead. The onslaught continued on as Dayton singled and Cimusz followed with a RBI double to the wall in left center to make it 10-1.

With the bases loaded in the fifth, after a Jefferson leadoff double, a Scott walk and a JJ Smith hit by pitch, the Longhorns boosted their advantage to 11-1 on a Iakopo sac fly to left.

Looking to avoid the run-rule in the bottom of the fifth, Texas Tech got off to a solid start against sophomore reliever Logan Hulon as shortstop Riley Love chopped a leadoff single up the middle. A one-out bouncer to first eventually moved the base runner into scoring position, but Hulon got second baseman Arriana Villa to strikeout to end the game.

Game Two:

Similar to Friday night’s contest, Texas Tech grabbed a 2-0, first-inning lead through the long ball as designated player Maddie Westmoreland hit a two-run HR to center.

The Longhorns answered back with a big fly of their own in the top of the second as Washington crushed a solo HR to center to make it 2-1.

After TTU stranded three combined runners over the second and third frames, Washington tried to get something going for UT with one out in the top of the fourth by driving a single to left. Day stepped into the box and hit a bouncer to second that traveled right between the legs of second baseman Arriana Villa and all the way to the wall to score Washington and tie the game at 2-2. Unfortunately for the Horns, Day was thrown out on a relay to third to clear the base paths. That likely cost Texas a run as Gilbert followed immediately with a single to right.

A fielding error and two hit batters quickly loaded the bases for Texas Tech to open the bottom of the fourth. After a pop-up to second, Villa hit a sac fly to the left to hand the Red Raiders back the advantage at 3-2. A huge Dolcini strikeout of left fielder Payton Jackson limited the damage as TTU only got one unearned run from an original bases-loaded, no-out situation.

Jefferson and Scott kicked off Texas’ half of the fifth with a little “small ball” as consecutive bunt singles put the first two aboard. With the speedy duo in scoring position after a sac bunt, Iakopo came to the plate facing a huge spot and delivered by lacing a two-run double inside the third base bag to push UT in front, 4-3.

The Longhorns added valuable insurance in the top of the sixth to boost their advantage to 7-3. Dayton opened the frame by bouncing a ball to first that was misplayed for a two-base error. Following a Dayton steal of third, Gilbert immediately followed with a bloop single to center to plate Texas’ fifth run. An Alyssa Popelka single and stolen base put two in scoring position with still no outs. From there, Jefferson and Scott lifted consecutive sacrifice flies to the left to plate Gilbert and Popelka for the four-run lead.

Needing something to battle back into the contest in the seventh, Texas Tech got it as third baseman Abbie Orrick followed back-to-back one-out singles with a three-run HR to center to cut the deficit to 7-6. Pinch hitter Kennedy Crites followed by blooping a ball to center that was dropped for an error to put the potential tying run on base. Simpson was summoned out of the bullpen in relief and quickly shut the door for her first collegiate save on consecutive groundouts.

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