No. 6 Texas takes pair of one-hitters from Houston
AUSTIN, Texas -- The sixth-ranked Texas softball team rode a pair of outstanding pitching performances on Saturday as the Horns cruised to 4-0 and 6-0 one-hit victories over Houston at McCombs Field. The two season-opening wins marked the ninth-consecutive year that the Longhorns began a campaign 2-0. Houston fell to 0-2 with the losses as the two teams will meet in the final game of the three-game set on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Junior pitcher Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas) tossed a remarkable one-hit complete game shutout in game one, but the story of the day was freshman pitcher Meagan Denny (Crowley, Texas) who impressed the home crowd of 821 in her debut performance, pitching 6.2 innings of unblemished softball.
Osterman's start in game one was her first appearance in a Texas uniform since May 25, 2003, as she spent the 2003-2004 academic year training and touring with the gold medal winning 2004 U.S. Olympic softball team.
"Having Cat back was great, but we just played overall outstanding softball today," Texas head coach Connie Clark said after the games. "Meagan proved to be everything we thought she could be and our offense found its groove early, which gave us the opportunity to try many different things and allowed everyone available to play.
"We were solid at the plate, we were really good defensively and I saw some wonderful things on the base paths from our players. It was nice that we were able to put up runs to support our pitchers great performances today, and it was great to start off the season with a pair of wins," Clark concluded.
In the nightcap, Denny nearly completed a perfect game before a two-out double by Kristen Glowacz in the top of the seventh. She struck out 16 batters, which set the Texas record for strikeouts in a debut performance. Denny recorded 10 consecutive punch-outs spanning four innings, while also striking out the side in four separate innings. The freshman recorded her first career complete game, shutout and no-walk performance.
"That was a fun game to pitch," Denny said. "I didn't even know I had a no-hitter going until (Glowacz) got the hit, but this was a fun first game as a Longhorn."
Offensively, Amber Hall (Deer Park, Texas) led the way with a 2-for-4 effort with two RBI. She was one of eight Longhorns to collect a hit, including senior Lizi Sowers (Georgetown, Texas) who recorded her first career hit in her first career at-bat.
UT jumped on the board with two runs in the first, as Tina Boutelle (Katy, Texas) led off with a double and scored on a wild pitch before Wynter Turner (San Pedro, Calif.) brought in Desiree Williams (Tucson, Ariz.) with a groundout. The Horns posted three more runs in the fourth that included a two-RBI triple from Hall. Texas capped the scoring in the fifth when Sowers drove in Chez Sievers (Mission Viejo, Calif.).
In game one of the twin-bill, the Longhorns received an excellent performance from Osterman who struck-out 15 of 25 batters she faced. She recorded three strikeouts in her first inning of work and two strikeouts in each of the next six innings. Houston's Kim Nesloney recorded the Cougars only hit, which came with one out in the sixth inning.
"I didn't have my best stuff today," Osterman said. "I was having trouble adjusting to the umpire's strike zone and it took me a while to settle down, but it was a great feeling being back in a Texas uniform and having my teammates around me today and watching Meagan do so well in her first game."
The Longhorns' offense struck early, tallying two runs in the first inning on a pair of double steals of home from Boutelle and Hall. Texas added another run in the second with Boutelle driving in Alexis Garcia (Covina, Calif) who singled to reach base. The Horns struck again in the fourth when Sievers drove in Williams to push the UT lead to 4-0.
Boutelle highlighted the Horns' offense, getting on base in each of her three plate appearances by twice hitting safely and reaching on a fielder's choice. Her two runs scored led the team and Hall tied the UT single game record for stolen bases with three.