LUBBOCK, Texas – Saturday afternoon at Rocky Johnson Field, the 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) taking both ends of a doubleheader, 11-1 (5 inn.) & 7-6.
- Texas’ five-run outburst and first-inning in Game 1 tied for the second-most runs the Longhorns have scored in a first frame this season behind just a six-run outburst in an 11 rout -2 (5 inns) from Kansas to Lawrence on March 27th.
- In the fourth inning of Saturday’s opener, senior second baseman Janae Jefferson marked her 200th career run to join former Texas star Taylor Hoagland (221 runs – 2010-13) as the only UT player to reach the 200 run milestone.
- With three HRs in Game 1, Texas has now hit multiple HRs in a single contest 13 times in 2022.
- freshman pitcher Sophie Simpson won his first collegiate save by pitching two-thirds of a relief inning to wrap up the doubles final.
- With a double in Saturday’s opener, Jefferson now has 47 career doubles, just one to tie the Texas career double record currently held by former Longhorns Jodi Reeves and kaitlyn washington.
- In Game 1, sophomore pitcher Logan Hulon came back from a long injury hiatus to throw a scoreless fifth, scoring her first work from the circle since March 6 against Miami (OH).
- Battling a 2-0 hole in the second innings in Game 2, Texas rallied from a deficit to win a game for the 14th time this season and second time this weekend.
Freshman third baseman Mia Scott (1 for 2, two runs, two walks, HR, three RBIs); junior first baseman McKenzie Parker (1 for 3, running, HR, three RBI); second-year shortstop Alyssa Washington (1 for 2, walk, two RBI); freshman catcher Katie Cimusz (2 for 4, run, two doubles, RBI); senior second baseman Janae Jefferson (2 in 3, three races, walk, double); second-year left fielder Courtney Day (1 for 3, running, HR, RBI)
Scott (2 for 3, running, RBI); Jefferson (1 for 3, running, RBI); senior first baseman Marie Iakopo (2 for 4, double, two RBI); Washington (2 for 4, two runs, HR, RBI); junior outfielder Lou Gilbert (2 for 2, run, RBI); second-year center fielder Alyssa Popelka (1 for 3, run)
In the circle
First-year student Sophie Simpson (7-4) picked up the win after allowing an earned run on just two hits with a walk and five strikeouts in 4.0 innings of work. Second year Logan Hulon returned from a long injury hiatus to throw a scoreless fifth frame while allowing a hit and striking out one.
Senior Hailey Dolcini (16-7) picked up the win after allowing three earned runs on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 4.1 innings of relief. Simpson recorded his first career save throwing a perfect 0.2 inning out of the bullpen.
Texas wasted no time getting off to a quick start against Texas Tech starter Erna Carlin in the top of the first. Jefferson picked the left side to open the game, while Scott followed with a walk to put the front two on board. With both speedsters in scoring position on wild pitch, Parker stepped up to the plate and fired a HR three-pointer right to give the Longhorns a 3-0 advantage. After a walk from Iakopo, second-year outfielder Bella Dayton was summoned into the game to pinch the race. The Wylie, Texas native showed off her blazing speed stealing second place, advancing to third on crazy pitch and scoring on pitch in Washington. The lead eventually grew to 5-0 as Day kicked off his ninth HR of the season at left centre.
Simpson having retired a pair on strikes while shooting two scoreless innings from the circle, Cimusz revived the Longhorns’ offense by baptizing the third on a right double. Washington stepped up and immediately bounced an RBI single down the middle to make it 6-0.
Texas Tech retired a run late in the third as center fielder Peyton Blythe hit a solo HR to right center to cut Red Raider’s deficit to 6-1.
Back-to-back walks from Popelka and Jefferson rolled Texas up again to start the fourth. That set the stage for Scott to show his power as the Angleton, Texas native fired a HR three-pointer to left center for a 9-1 lead. The onslaught continued as Dayton scored a single and Cimusz followed with an RBI double against the wall at left center to make it 10-1.
With the bases loaded in the fifth, after a double from Jefferson, a walk from Scott and a JJ Smith hit by the pitch, the Longhorns took their advantage to 11-1 on a sack volley from Iakopo on the left.
Seeking to avoid the run rule late in the fifth, Texas Tech got off to a good start against the sophomore reliever Logan Hulon as shortstop Riley Love cut a first single down the middle. A one-out bouncer for first eventually moved the base runner into scoring position, but Hulon got second baseman Arriana Villa out to end the game.
Similar to Friday night’s game, Texas Tech took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on the long ball as designated player Maddie Westmoreland hit a two-run HR to the center.
The Longhorns fought back with a big volley in the top of the second as Washington smashed a solo HR down the middle to make it 2-1.
After TTU failed three combined runners in the second and third frames, Washington tried to shake things up for UT with an out top of the fourth driving a single left. Day entered the box and hit a bouncer at second that traveled between second baseman Arriana Villa’s legs and to the wall to score Washington and tie the game at 2-2. Unfortunately for the Horns, Day was sent off on a third-position stint to clear the base paths. It probably cost Texas a run as Gilbert immediately followed with a right-hand single.
A field error and two slapped batters quickly charged Texas Tech’s bases to open the bottom of the fourth. After a pop-up at second, Villa hit a sack fly on the left to put the Red Raiders ahead at 3-2. A huge Dolcini strikeout from left fielder Payton Jackson limited the damage as TTU got just one unearned run from an original base-loaded, no-out situation.
Jefferson and Scott pitched half of Texas’ fifth with a short “little ball” as back-to-back bunt singles put the front two on board. With the quick duo in scoring position after a bunt from the sack, Iakopo came to the plate facing a huge run and delivered by lacing a two-run double inside the third base sack to push UT ahead, 4- 3.
The Longhorns added valuable insurance in the top of the sixth to extend their lead to 7-3. Dayton opened the frame by bouncing a ball first that was misplayed for a two base error. After a steal of third by Dayton, Gilbert followed immediately with a bloop single to the center to tackle Texas’ fifth inning. A Alyssa Popelka single base and volley put two in scoring position with still no outs. From there, Jefferson and Scott lifted back-to-back sacrificial flies on the left to tackle Gilbert and Popelka for the four-point lead.
Needing something to get back into the competition in the seventh, Texas Tech got it as third baseman Abbie Orrick followed back-to-back one-out singles with a three-run HR down the center to cut the deficit to 7 -6. Pinch hitter Kennedy Crites followed by a fly ball to center that was dropped for an error to put the potential tying run on base. Simpson was called out of the bullpen in relief and quickly closed the door for her first collegiate stoppage on back-to-back eliminations.