LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Senior rightfielder Amber Hall's two-out home run in the top of the seventh lifted the No. 2 ranked University of Texas softball team to a 1-0 victory over Big 12 opponent Kansas on Saturday afternoon at KU's Arrocha Ballpark.
Texas moves to 45-4 overall on the year, standing 11-1 in the Big 12, while the Jayhawks drop to 26-21 and fall to 5-7 in conference action. Texas won its seventh game in the row. The Longhorns are now 17-1 in their last 18 contests.
Hall hit her fifth home run of the season deep into the parking lot behind the right field fence. For the game, the Deer Park, Texas native finished 1-for-3 with one run and one RBI. It was the 41st home run of the season for the Longhorns, who continue to add to their new season total of round-trippers. The former single season team mark was 36 home runs, set in 2004. The homer was Hall's 16th RBI of the year. She currently is fourth on the squad in RBI.
"I truly just walked up to the plate with nothing going through my head about getting a hit or having to get on base," said Hall. "I usually do my best when I am going into my at-bat with nothing pressing going through my head. I just connected and knew I had a good piece of the ball as soon as it left my bat. Still, despite the run, I knew we needed to play tough defense in the bottom of the seventh to secure the victory."
Longhorn senior All-American Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas) fired a two-hitter to move to 29-1 on the year. Osterman preserved the 1-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh as she struck out the side to pick up her 20th shutout of the season, third in a row and fourth in her last five games. Osterman faced 21 batters, yielding just two two singles while walking none and striking out 13.
The game started off as a pitcher's duel and finished with both teams combining for four hits (two each). Neither team committed an error.
For Kansas, Kassie Humphreys took the loss, despite six solid innings of work before Hall's seventh-inning dramatics. Pitching a complete game, Humphreys faced the minimum number of batters (21). Falling to 12-14 on the year, she recorded five strikeouts and yielded just two hits in the hard-luck loss.
"The game wasn't my best, but it was a testament to how well we are playing," said Osterman. "We are clicking really well as a team and it gives us a lot of trust that if one of us is not able to make a play, then the next person will. We are all accountable to each other and when Megan (Willis) can clear the bases like she did today, we are going to succeed."
Junior catcher Megan Willis (Chandler, Ariz.) finished with 14 putouts and three assists in the game. She also made a huge defensive play in the bottom of the fourth when she picked Val Chapple off of second base to halt a Kansas rally. Chapple had led off the inning with a single to right and was sacrificed to second. Willis then gunned her down, and Osterman got the final Jayhawk batter on an infield groundout to end the inning.
Texas' only other hit came from sophomore Desiree Williams (Tucson, Ariz.) in the top of the first when she hit a single into shallow left center. As a leadoff hitter this season, Williams is hitting .486 with 18 hits on 37 at-bats.
The final game of this two-game series between the Jayhawks and Longhorns will take place Sunday afternoon (April 23, at noon Central) at Arrocha Ballpark.
Texas is in the midst of a two-week long road swing. After facing KU Sunday, Texas concludes its road swing on Wednesday, April 26 with a Big 12 matchup against No. 15 ranked Texas A&M at 6 p.m. in College Station in a State Farm Lone Star Showdown. That single game also will air live on ESPNU TV.