Denny tosses one-hitter to lead Softball past St. John's, 7-0
AUSTIN, Texas -- Junior righthander Meagan Denny tossed a complete game one-hitter, equaling a career-high with 16 strikeouts, Saturday night, as the 10th-ranked Texas Softball team downed St. John's, 7-0 in the semifinals of the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational. Denny carried a perfect game into the final frame before allowing a leadoff single to St. John's shortstop Danielle Estrada.
The victory advances Texas to the tournament championship game and improves the Longhorns record to 4-0 in the tourney and 16-3 overall, while St. John's fell to 0-4 for the weekend and 2-12 overall.
Denny (9-2) struck out the side in the first two frames and sat the Red Storm down in order in the next four innings. The Crowley, Texas native again retired the side on strikes in the sixth inning before surrendering her only hit of the contest in the final frame. Her 16 strikeouts on the night equaled a career mark that she has now achieved four-times, last accomplishing the feat exactly one-year ago.
"Meagan (Denny) had a great night tonight," stated head coach Connie Clark. "What I liked more than anything is that she stayed extremely focused and worked pitch-to-pitch."
Texas got things started in the early going, using a leadoff single by sophomore second baseman Shannon Thomas to start its first-inning rally. Freshman shortstop Loryn Johnson followed with a two-homer to rightfield, pushing the early Longhorns advantage to 2-0. Sophomore rightfielder Kacie Gaskin reached on a walk and advanced to third on Tallie Thrasher's single to rightfield, and she came home on Kori Cook's RBI single, pushing the first-inning tally to 3-0.
"We wanted to make sure that we got things done this weekend, especially when there is a sense of urgency," noted Clark. "We have had some good at-bats in the tournament and our approach has been very good."
The Longhorns added four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, tallying five hits and pushing the margin to 7-0. Senior catcher Megan Willis started the one-out rally with a double to the right centerfield gap, and pinch runner Brittany Reliford scored on an RBI single by Gaskin.
Thrasher followed Gaskin with a walk, and freshman leftfielder Kori Cook brought Gaskin home with an RBI double down the leftfield line, moving the UT edge to 6-0. The Longhorns recorded their final run of the inning on sophomore third baseman Crystal Saenz' RBI single that plated Thrasher.
Kim Lerch (1-7) took the loss for the Red Storm, going 4.1 innings and surrendering seven runs on 10 hits, while walking two and striking out two Texas hitters.
Texas returns to action Sunday, March 4 when it takes on Drake in the tournament championship game at 12:30 p.m. at McCombs Field. The Longhorns defeated Drake on Saturday, March 3, knocking off the Bulldogs, 8-0 in six innings.