Softball moves into championship of Texas Invite
AUSTIN, Texas -- Down 1-0 in the third inning, Texas' Desiree Williams hit her eighth home run of the season to knot the score and the Horns added single runs twice late in the game as the second-ranked Texas softball team defeated TexasA&M-Corpus Christi, 3-1, on Saturday night in the semifinals of the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational at McCombs Field.
Meagan Denny regrouped after a shaky start in the circle to strike out 11 batters in the three-hit victory as she claimed her ninth-straight win.
With the win, Texas (23-1) earned its 21st straight victory to set a new school record for consecutive wins, passing the 2003 team's previous record mark. UT will now face Houston in the tournament championship on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (3-12) took its fourth loss of the tournament and will take on Ole Miss in the consolation game at 10 a.m., immediately preceding the championship tilt.
The Islanders took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning when Corpus catcher Julie Monsivais came around on Branda Guerrero's single to right center. Monsiavais drew a lead-off walk and moved into scoring position after a sacrifice bunt.
Down 1-0 - marking just the fifth game this season UT had trailed in a game - Williams stepped up in the third inning with two outs and launched a solo shot to left center on a 3-2, pay-off pitch, tying the game.
The teams remained tied until the fifth when Williams again helped the Horns score. After Tina Boutelle picked up a walk to lead off the frame, she advanced to second on Shannon Thomas' sacrifice bunt. The Islanders then decided to intentionally walk Williams, but in the process, Monsivais stepped out the box before receiving a pitch, sending Boutelle to third on the illegal pitch. Four balls later, Williams came to first and then took off for second in a steal attempt, drawing enough attention to allow Boutelle to scamper home for the game-winning run.
The Horns added an insurance run in the sixth when MicKayla Padilla brought in Crystal Saenz with an RBI single, pushing the lead to 3-1.
After scoring the early run, the Islanders threatened again in the fourth inning when Gonzalez had a lead-off single and took second on a wild pitch. Monsivais' fielder's choice allowed the Horns to clear Gonzalez off the basepath, but the Islanders saw runners on second and third with two outs after a Stephanie Estrada walk and Guerrero ground-out. Denny, however, negated the threat when she got Brittany Green to strike out on three pitches.
Corpus had a pair of runners on again in the seventh with the go-ahead run at the plate, but Denny again relied on her arm and struck out Shana Washington with a full-count to end the game and send the Horns into the championship tilt.
Texas looked as if was going to strike early when Boutelle reached with a lead-off single in the first, but she was thrown out by Monsivais at second in a steal attempt, the first time she had been caught this season. Thomas then drew a walk as the next batter, but Monsivais again threw her out attempting to steal to give the Islanders quick two outs while negating the scoring threats.
Denny (9-1) threw a complete-game three hitter with 11 strikeouts while also scattering four walks. The one run she gave up was unearned because a throw home from the outfield was mishandled, allowing Monsivais to come in from third.
The Islanders' Jennifer Cummings (1-6) took the loss after holding the Horns to three runs - all earned - on five hits with striking out one and walking seven. UT stranded seven on base, including two each in the second and fourth innings.