AUSTIN, Texas -- Tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Megan Willis sent a bouncer back up the middle that scored Shannon Thomas from second, giving the second-ranked Texas softball team a 3-2 victory over Houston and the 2006 Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational title.
Desiree Williams was the catalyst for the Horns offensively on the day, going 2-for-3 and driving in UT's first two runs. She hit .583 in the five-game tournament, driving in five of the Horns' 18 runs in the championship run. Williams also pushed her personal hitting streak to 12 games, a career best and the team's longest stretch since Amber Hall hit in 14 straight in 2004.
With the victory, Texas (24-1) extended its program-record winning streak to 22 games and also moved to 12-0 all-time against Houston (16-7).
The walk-off win against the Cougars marked the second time in as many seasons the final game between the two teams ended in the final at-bat. In UT's 5-4 victory in 2005 at McCombs Field, Hall scored the game-winning run on a Cougar wild pitch.
Tina Boutelle had the Horns' other multiple-hit game, going 2-for-4 with one run scored. Like Williams, Boutelle also extended her hitting streak, pushing her mark to a career-best nine games.
Thomas scored the game-tying and game-winning runs for the Horns.
Cat Osterman (14-0) picked up the win in relief, throwing the final 2.1 innings of no-hit ball with two strikeouts and one walk. Meagan Denny started the game, lasting 4.2 innings and allowing two unearned runs on five hits with four strikeouts and three walks.
Texas got on the board in the third inning, when Boutelle led off with a double to right center. One batter later, Williams stroked her in with a single up the middle, staking UT to a 1-0 lead.
Houston came back to score the game-tying and go-ahead runs in the fifth inning. Jaci Gonzalez reached on a one-out fielder's choice and then moved up a base on Jessica Vales' single. Katie Bush then loaded the bases when she reached first after a Longhorn fielding error.
UT inched closer to getting out of the inning unharmed when Elaina Nordstrom struck out, but Laurie Wagner drew a bases-loaded walk in the next at-bat to plate Gonzalez and knot the score at 1-1. Valis then scored when UT's throw to third on a pick-off attempt sailed past the bag, putting Houston up 2-1. After Denny walked the next batter to keep the bases loaded, Osterman entered and got the Horns out of the jam by forcing Brandi Clark into an infield pop up.
Texas tied the score in the next half-inning with Williams leading the way. Thomas reached on a fielder's choice and stole second before coming home on Williams' hit up the middle.
Osterman held off the Cougars in each of the next two innings, setting up Willis' walk-off heroics in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Thomas singled up the middle and then stole second. With first base open, the Cougars intentionally walked Williams, to get to Willis. The Horns' catcher sent a full-count pitch bounding up the middle to bring in Thomas from second.
Houston's Candi Kloecker started for the Cougars, lasting 5.0 innings and allowing two runs - one earned - on seven hits with two strikeouts and one walk. Angel Shamblin (5-4) took the loss in relief, throwing 1.1 innings while surrendering one run on two hits with one strikeout and two walks.
Valis was the only Houston player to record multiple hits, going 2-for-4 in the game.
Rachael Cook, who went 1-for-3 at the plate, made two of the Horns' standout defensive plays of the game. In the first inning with two outs and a runner on, she laid out for a ball that was headed for the left-center gap and made the catch to end the inning. Later in the top of the seventh after moving to first base from the outfield, she made a back-handed stab at Valis' hit that had eyes for the right side of the infield. She got the ball and beat out Valis to the bag, getting the first out of the inning for the Horns.
Texas returns to action on Wednesday, March 8, when the team hosts North Texas for a 5 p.m. doubleheader at McCombs Field.