No. 18/19 Softball Tops Colorado State 8-0 in Texas Classic Championship Game
Feb. 12, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas - Junior Blaire Luna tossed a one-hit shutout and sophomore shortstop Taylor Thom went 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored to pace the No. 18/19 University of Texas Softball team to an 8-0 win against Colorado State in the Texas Classic championship game on Sunday afternoon at Red and Charline McCombs Field.
The Longhorns (5-0) outscored their five opponents at the Texas Classic by a combined 60-0 margin. Four of UT's five victories in the season-opening tournament were run-rule wins.
Luna recorded her second shutout of the tournament and 29th of her career, working 5.0 innings and striking out 10 while walking three. She took a no-hitter into the fifth before Lyssa Roberts singled to center with two out for CSU's lone hit on the day.
Molly Randle (0-1) took the loss for the Rams, tossing 4.1 innings and allowing eight earned runs on nine hits, while striking out one and walking three.
The Horns took an early 1-0 advantage when Taylor Hoagland led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo blast to right center. Thom blasted a solo home run to left with one out in the second to give Texas a 2-0 lead.
Colorado State threatened in the fourth. With one out and runners on the corners, Luna retired Danielle Wikre and Shae Rodriguez on back-to-back strikeouts to get out of the jam.
Texas ended the game in the fifth inning via the run rule by scoring four runs. Washington led off the frame with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After Bennett was retired, pinch-hitter Marlee Gabaldon walked and pinch-hitter Gabby Smith singled to load the bases. Thom followed with an RBI single to plate Washington.
After Kacie McCarthy replaced Randle in the circle for the Rams, Gabaldon came home on a Torie Schmidt groundout. With runners on second and third and two out, Mandy Ogle laced a two-run single to bring home both Smith and Thom and close out the scoring.
Karina Scott went 2-for-2, and Bennett and Ogle each added two RBI to aid UT's offensive attack.
Texas returns to action when it hosts Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Wednesday, Feb. 15. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. Central at McCombs Field, and the game will be broadcast on Longhorn Network.
HEAD COACH Connie Clark
On the weekend overall: I thought we did some things well in regards to our goals. It was all about the things that we had talked about earlier in the week and keeping an aggressive mindset. We did some things as well as we could mentally. The one physical thing that we still are going to come back and practice would be getting those bunts down. We have worked on it, and we just have to keep doing it. But overall, I was pleased with our compete factor. That is one of the things we are looking for.
On Blaire Luna's performance: She had really good stuff today. I know one of her goals is to keep the pitch counts down. Dominating at this level also is learning to put away hitters sooner. Sometimes, she would throw too many pitches and try to get the out instead of just going with her best stuff. She has done a much better job at that, and she has got such great stuff that she needs to go by data. She struggled with her drop ball in the fourth inning, but her and Mandy (Ogle) got back on the same page to go with the best stuff and pounding the mit. I love that, and it is something she is working on this year. She showed all of her stuff in the first two innings. She had up, down, off-speed and both curves working, so she had a good outing for us today.
On whether or not this is the best she could have asked for to start the season: What you are looking for in the initial outing is to see their energy level and how they are resetting. Coming into today, we just said obviously there is a control effort. But whether you are tired or not, it takes some time to go through that first five-game weekend and understand your body and how you are feeling. Our athletic trainer did a great job in that regard, as she mandated ice packs. They are taking care of their bodies. They had good recovery each day and we used our depth. That is key and it is nice to have people in and out of the lineup to help with that.
JUNIOR P Blaire Luna
On starting the season with a championship: It is exciting, but it is more exciting for my teammates and our pitching staff as a whole. As a team, we did really well and our hitters were just on all weekend.
On her performance today: individually, I am proud of myself but I am happier for my teammates.
SOPHOMORE SS Taylor Thom
On opening the season with a championship: It is a great feeling. We came to this tournament with an open mind that we wanted to come out strong and finish. We all worked hard in the off season, so we came into the tournament ready to go.
On Texas shutting out every opponent: Our pitching staff and defense are amazing. We have one of the best pitching staffs in the country, and our group behind them is always alert and ready for the ball when it comes at us.
On whether or not she is surprised by Texas' performance: No. Everyone was really pumped about this tournament, which I think caused our performance.