CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. -- Jackie Williams and Chez Sievers each hit multiple-run home runs Saturday afternoon to lead the fourth-ranked Texas softball team over No. 23 Fresno State, 5-2, in the first of two games on the day at the Palm Springs Classic at Big League Dreams Sports Park. W
With the win, Texas (15-1) pushed its winning streak to 13 games, its fourth-longest in program history while simultaneously moving its record against the Bulldogs to 5-3 all-time. Fresno State (8-6) suffered its first loss at the tournament after earlier recording victories over No. 10 Oklahoma and Kansas.
Jackie Williams gave the Horns a 3-0 lead in the second inning when she launched her third home run of the year, a three-run shot, to center field. With two outs, Chez Sievers singled to center field, and Rachael Cook, the next batter, battled back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk, putting runners at first and second. Williams send her first pitch from Fresno starter Katie Nelson out of the park, giving the Horns a quick lead.
The Bulldogs cut the Horns' lead to two runs when they broke Meagan Denny's shutout bid in the third inning. Nichole Willis snuck a single through the right side, and after Ashley White sacrificed her over to second, Mallory Perkins singled her home with a shot to left center.
Fresno State added another run in the fourth, pulling within one run of the Horns at 3-2. Christina Clark drew a lead-off walk off Denny and Merryann Barr reached on a UT fielding error, putting runners at first and second with no outs. Denny got Kristin Sylvester to pop out, but then hit Fresno relief pitcher Robin Mackin to load the bases. Willis stepped in and sent a long fly ball to center field, allowing Clark to score from third on the sacrifice fly. Now within one run of UT, Ashley White drew a walk with two outs to load the bases. Cat Osterman entered the game in relief of Denny and struck out Shannon Garvin looking for the final out of the inning and stranding the game-tying and go-ahead runs on base.
Chez Sievers gave UT an added two-run cushion and pushed the Texas lead to 5-2 in the sixth inning when she sent a 1-0 pitch from Mackin over the left-field fence, also scoring MicKayla Padilla, who was pinch running after Kelly Melone drew a one-out walk. It was Sievers' first home run of the season and her first since February 16, 2005 when she hit a two-run homer at Texas State.
The Longhorns tacked on two more runs in the top of the seventh to increase the lead to five runs. Shannon Thomas led off with a single and two batters later, Desiree Williams dropped a bloop single into shallow right field. A double steal put Thomas and Williams at third and second, and when Fresno's catcher threw down to third to attempt to get Thomas, the throw sailed into left field allowing both runners to advance and a run to score. Amber Hall then dropped a bloop double into shallow left field, and when Fresno's first baseman threw to third to double off one of the two UT runners at the base, her throw sailed into the fence, bringing in Williams from third for a 7-2 lead.
Denny went 3.2 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits while striking out three and walking two in the no decision. Osterman (9-0) took the win in relief and threw perfect ball in the final 3.1 innings with six strikeouts, pushing her career strikeout total to 1,766, six within the NCAA career strikeout record of 1,773 held by Courtney Blades of Southern Miss and Nicholls State.
Nelson (1-1) lasted two innings, allowing three runs on three hits with one strikeout and one walk. Mackin threw the final 5.0 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
The Longhorns play a second game on Saturday, facing UNLV at 5:30 p.m. Central. Live stats will be available at TexasSports.com.