Osterman hurls one-hitter and fans 12 to lead No. 2 Softball over No. 15 Texas A&M, 1-0
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Senior lefthander Cat Osterman fired her seventh one-hitter of the season and struck out 12, and junior catcher Megan Willis knocked in the game's lone run in the top of the first, to lead No. 2 ranked Texas softball team to a dramatic 1-0 victory over 15th-ranked Texas A&M in Big 12 action. It also was a State Farm Lone Star Showdown game, played in front of 2,053 at the Aggie Softball Complex.
The contest was rematch between the Big 12's two top teams and was a pitching duel between Osterman and Aggie sophomore righthander Amanda Scarborough, who threw a four-hitter but allowed that one run in the top of the first.
With the win, Texas moves to 46-5 overall and to 12-2 in the Big 12, widening its Big 12 lead over the Aggies (32-14, 11-5). In the first meeting this year between these two clubs, then-No. 16 A&M upset the No. 1 ranked Longhorns, 4-2, in Austin on April 5.
Osterman improves to 30-1 overall and to 10-0 in the Big 12, winning her 14th game in a row. She was one out away from pitching her sixth no-hitter of the season.
The game's lone run came in the first when Willis recorded her 15th RBI of the year with two outs. Willis ripped a line drive single off the left field fence, 190 feet away from home plate, to score Amber Hall from second.
Hall had reached on a two-out bloop single to center and moved to second on a stolen base, her eighth base theft of the year. After Willis' hit, Scarborough then retired the side on a strikeout.
With Texas leading, 1-0, the Aggies attempted a big rally in the bottom of the seventh.
Megan Gibson drew a lead off walk for A&M. Osterman then faced her pitching opponent, Scarborough, the cleanup hitter who entered the game batting .381 in the league. Osterman got Scarborough to look at a called third strike and then sat down Holly Ridley on a swinging third strike.
Righfielder Rocky Spencer broke up the no-hitter by lining the first pitch from Osterman to left field, advancing Gibson to second. With the two runners on base, Osterman reared back and got Jamie Lobpries to take a called strike three on the outside corner to end the game.
Gibson was the only Aggie runner to reach second base. Osterman had retired 10 in a row prior to Spencer's single. She faced 25 batters and walked three. It marked only the third time this year that Osterman has yielded a season-high three walks in a game.
The Aggies had entered the game as the second-best hitting team in the league (.286) before going 1-for-22 against Osterman.
Scarborough drops to 15-7 overall and to 7-3 in the Big 12 with the setback. She pitched a complete game, allowing four singles, the one earned run, while walking one and fanning four.
Texas left five runners on base, while the Aggies stranded four.
"I was proud of the way Cat battled tonight out there and the fact that we got on the board early to put some pressure on A&M," noted Texas head coach Connie Clark. "Cat had to settle in rhythmically, and I thought she did a great job in playing pitch-by-pitch. Her rise ball was tremendous tonight.
"I told our team yesterday in practice that this game would have serious implications if we wanted to reach our goal of winning the Big 12 title," Clark noted. "Also, we reminded them of how much this game would be a `big-game environment' here in College Station, with a huge crowd. It felt like a championship atmosphere out here tonight."
"Tonight, I didn't have all my best pitches, and fell behind in the count," stated Osterman. "But, I was able to make pitches when I had to, and Megan (Willis) called a great game. Give credit to A&M. They are a great team.
"In the seventh, I knew that I would be facing Scarborough, who is one of the best hitters in the league," Osterman stated. "I didn't want to put her on. You saw how she fights and battles at the plate. The pitch I was able to get her on was an outside curve, and it probably was one of the better pitches I threw all night. Then, after the single, I had to battle again for that final strikeout."
With the win, Texas also picks up one-half point in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown all-sports series between Texas and Texas A&M. Texas has already clinched the State Farm LLS title in this its second year, and tonight's win gives UT 10 points to A&M's 5.0 points to date.
The attendance of 2,053 was the second largest home attendance in A&M softball history (prior high was 2,314, set in last year's Texas-Texas A&M contest on April 27).
Texas is now 8-1 in its last nine games, and stands 18-2 in its last 20 contests. The Aggies are now 3-3 in their last six contests.
Texas returns to action this weekend, hosting Oklahoma State in single games on Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30. Both games began at 1 p.m. at McCombs Field in Austin. Sunday will be "Texas Senior Day", with the five Longhorn seniors making their final regular season home appearance.