Softball outlasts 10th-ranked Ragin' Cajuns, 6-5
FULLERTON, Calif. -- Chez Sievers' pinch hit RBI single in the fifth inning gave the fourth-ranked Texas softball team a 6-5 victory over 10th-ranked and previously unbeaten Louisiana Lafayette in the Horns' second game of pool play at the Judi Garman Classic on Friday afternoon.
Texas (28-2) posted an early 5-0 lead over the Ragin Cajuns only to see ULL come back and tie the score in the fourth. Sievers' single plated Kacie Gaskin for the win, giving UT its seventh-straight victory over a ranked team.
The Longhorns will face ninth-ranked Michigan later on Friday. Rain moved into the area during the UT-ULL game and has already forced delays at the tournament. Game time for Texas-Michigan was previously scheduled for 6 p.m. CST.
Louisiana-Lafayette (22-1) suffered its first loss of the season with the Horns' victory. The Cajuns moved to 1-1 in pool play after defeating the Wolverines, 3-2 in 10 innings, on Thursday evening.
The win over ULL marked the second time in as many seasons UT handed a previously unbeaten team its first loss of the season in the second game of the Judi Garman Classic. In 2005, Texas topped unbeaten and top-ranked Arizona, 1-0 in 10 innings, to give the Wildcats their first loss in 19 games.
Amber Hall went 2-for-4, the only UT player to record a multiple-hit outing. Desiree Williams saw her school-record 16-game hitting streak come to an end when she went 0-for-2 with two walks.
Tina Boutelle got the Horns on the board in the first at-bat, keying a two-run first inning. After going ahead 2-0 in the count, Boutelle sent her third lead-off home run of the season over the right-center fence to give UT a quick 1-0 lead. After Shannon Thomas drew a walk in the next at-bat, Hall stroked an RBI double to right center to plate Thomas and give the Horns a 2-0 advantage.
Megan Willis built the lead to 5-0 in the third inning when she connected for her second home run in as many days, a three-run shot to center field that also scored Williams and Hall. The home run chased ULL starter Ashley Kirchberg from the circle and the Cajuns brought in Holly Tankersley, who had not pitched since May 2004.
Heavy rains moved into the Fullerton area as the third inning opened, making for messy field conditions for the rest of the game.
Lacey Bertucci pulled the Ragin Cajuns within two runs in the third inning when she connected for a three-run home run with one out. Karli Hubbard and Deserea Griffin opened the innings with back-to-back singles, setting up Bertucci's three-RBI at-bat.
In the next inning, Louisiana-Lafayette tied the score at 5-5. ULL got its first two batters on base to lead off the fourth, as Brittany Bryant led off with an infield single and Codi Runyun drew a walk. After Texas starter Meagan Denny struck out the next two batters, the Ragin Cajuns saw both runners move up a base to second and third on a wild pitch. Griffin then brought both home with a single to center field, tying the score at 5-5.
UT put runners on first and second in the fifth with two outs after Gaskin and Jacqueline Williams drew free passes. ULL changed pitchers again, bringing in Kristin Lewellan one pitch into Crystal Saenz's at-bat, which led UT to replace Saenz with Chez Sievers. Sievers sent the first pitch she saw into center field, scoring Gaskin from second and putting the Horns up 6-5.
Cat Osterman entered the circle in the bottom of the fifth with the lead, and she struck out the side to send the Longhorns to the top of the sixth clinging to the one-run lead.
Boutelle's home run was her seventh of the season, a new career high. Her career total now stands at 16, good for fourth place on the UT career list.
Denny tossed 4.0 innings, allowing five runs on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks while earning the victory to move to 12-2 on the season. Osterman earned her first save since the 2003 season, throwing three perfect innings of relief with eight strikeouts.
Kirchberg lasted 2.0 innings, allowing five runs on five hits with one strikeout and three walks. Tankersley (0-1) went 2.2 innings in the loss, allowing one run on no hits with two strikeouts and three walks. Lewallen closed out the game, throwing the final 2.1 innings of shutout ball, allowing one hit with two strikeouts.
The Longhorns close out pool play at the Judi Garman Classic later on Friday, when they face No. 9 Michigan at 6 p.m. CST. Live stats will be available at TexasSports.com.