Hall scores game-winner as Longhorns rally past Houston
AUSTIN, Texas -- Junior Amber Hall (Deer Park, Texas) scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh-inning as the No. 6 Texas softball team came from behind to defeat Houston, 5-4, in front of 622 fans at McCombs Field on Sunday. The Longhorns spotted the Cougars a 3-0 lead after three innings, but clawed back to tie the game in the bottom of the third. UT took a 4-3 lead in the fourth inning, but Houston knotted the score in the top of the seventh to force the Horns to generate offense in the bottom half of the last frame.
After a long fly out by Tina Boutelle (Katy, Texas) to start the seventh, Hall reached on an infield fielding error then moved to third on Desiree Williams' (Tucson, Ariz.) infield single. Hall was 60 feet away and then came home on the wild pitch delivered by UH's Barbie Love as Texas swept Houston in a three-game weekend series.
Senior Lizi Sowers (Georgetown, Texas) gave Texas (3-0) 2.0 innings of relief work to earn the win, while Love suffered the loss for Houston (0-3).
Williams led the Texas offense, going 2-for-4 with one RBI, while Alexis Garcia (Covina, Calif.), who tallied Texas' first home run of the year, and Boutelle each went 1-for-3 with one run and one RBI. Boutelle also added two stolen bases.
"To be honest with you, today's game probably served us better than if we just went out and had another performance like we had yesterday," Texas head coach Connie Clark said. "We faced a lot of adversity today - between the weather, some lineup changes and the early deficit - and we showed some mental toughness in fighting back to earn the win. Later in the season, having games where we are challenged like today will be of more help than if we had run-ruled an opponent."
Houston jumped on the board immediately as Kim Nesloney hit a leadoff home run off Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas) to give Houston an early 1-0 advantage. Then, in the top of the second, Nesloney struck again with her second home run in as many at-bats, scoring Brooke Johnson who reached on an UT error.
Garcia got Texas on the board in the third when she led off with the team's first home run of the season to cut into the lead at 3-1. Hall and Williams then connected for back-to-back singles that brought in Boutelle, who had singled and stolen second base to get in scoring position. Chez Sievers' (Mission Viejo, Calif.) sacrifice fly that plated Hall knotted the score. In the bottom of the fourth, Boutelle's sacrifice fly gave Texas its first lead of the afternoon at 4-3.
Then in the top of the seventh, Dru Daniels singled with one out and a runner on third, tying the score at 4-4, before Sowers struck out the next batter and forced a groundout to end the Cougar threat, setting up the Longhorns' heroics in the bottom half of the inning.
Osterman started the game for Texas, going 5.0 innings and allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits while striking out 13 and walking two. Sowers went the final 2.0 innings, surrendering two hits and one run with two strikeouts and two walks.
Love took the loss for Houston, going the final 2.1 innings and allowing the game-winning run and one hit. Angel Shamblin started and lasted 2.1 innings (three earned runs on five hits) before giving way to Crystal Briscoe, who went 1.2 innings and gave up one run on two hits.
The Horns next travel to Tempe, Ariz., for the Kajikawa Classic, Feb. 11-13, at the Tempe Sports Complex. UT will face Utah State (11 a.m.) and New Mexico (5:45 p.m.) on Friday, Buffalo (12:15 p.m.) and No. 1 California (4:45 p.m.) on Saturday and Syracuse (10:30 a.m.) on Sunday. All times listed are Central.