Osterman leads Softball into NCAA Regional title game
AUSTIN, Texas -- All-America senior lefthander Cat Osterman allowed just one hit, and infield chopper in the first inning, and fanned 16 and UT scored all its runs in the first three innings, as Texas posted a 3-0 victory over Indiana Saturday afternoon in the second round winner's bracket game of the NCAA Softball Austin Regional being played at Red and Charline McCombs Field.
Texas faces Utah (40-20) for the regional crown. Utah came from the elimination bracket on Saturday, posting two come-from-behind wins - a 3-2 win over UTSA which eliminated the Roadrunners, followed by a 5-1 victory over Indiana in the final elimination game Saturday. One win Sunday gives Texas the Regional crown; Utah has to beat UT twice for the title.
With the win, Texas also set the school record for single season victories. The former mark was 50 wins during UT's 50-13 finish in 2002, a mark which the Longhorns tied with Friday evening's first round win over UTSA. It was Texas' 31st shutout win of the season and second in a row in NCAA tourney action.
Osterman has now accounted for 25 of those shutout victories. She moves to 34-2 with the victory, facing just 25 batters. She walked one in the complete-game victory which saw her throw 94 pitches - 73 of them for strikes. In the two NCAA Championship games to date, Osterman has struck out 34 of the 49 batters who have faced her.
Indiana, now 1-1 in the Regional and 30-24-1 overall, will face the winner of the UTSA-Utah contest at 6 p.m. Saturday in the second elimination game. That winner advances to Sunday's championship to face Texas.
If Texas should drop the 1 p.m. game on Sunday, then a second game, following 30 minutes after the 1 p.m. game, will take place to determine the Austin Regional champion who advances to next weekend's NCAA Super Regional. The eight Super Regionals will take place on selected campus sites on Friday and Saturday, May 26-27. In its last two NCAA Championship appearances (2003 and 2005), the Longhorns have advanced to the Super Regionals and then onward to the Women's College World Series.
Offensively, senior rightfielder Amber Hall drove home what proved to be the game-inning run with a two-out RBI double in the first. Sophomore shortstop Desiree Williams went two-for-three at the plate which included her team-high 10th double of the season, and scored on Hall's double. The UT offense also was helped by four walks, a hit batsman and two Indiana errors.
As the visitors, Texas jumped on the scoreboard with a 2-0 lead in the top of the first behind Hall's RBI double, a walk, a hit batsman and one Hoosier error.
Desiree Williams led off the game as a hit batsman and was sacrificed to second. After an infield groundout, catcher Megan Willis walked. After a groundout, Hall came to the plate and lined a sinking shot down the left field line which scored Williams. When Hoosier leftfielder Julia Hamilton made an errant throw back to the infield, that allowed Willis to score an unearned run on the play. It was Hall's eight double and 16th RBI of the year. A groundout ended the UT rally.
In the third, Texas plated its final run, also unearned. Centerfielder Tina Boutelle rapped a leadoff single up the middle and stole second. Boutelle then stole third when UT batter Megan Willis showed bunt and pulled back. On Boutelle's steal, Indiana catcher Janetta Devan made a poor throw, allowing Boutelle to take home.
The Longhorns stranded six runners in the contest, while the Hoosiers left four on base (on a first-inning chop single by Hamilton, one walk and two UT errors). No Indiana runner reached second base.
Indiana senior righthander Mariangee Bogado got the start and pitched five complete innings. Bogado (21-10) allowed all three runs (one earned) along with three hits, and walked three and struck out two. Megan Roark pitched the final two innings in relief.
Indiana senior pitcher Mariangee Bogado
Texas Head Coach Connie Clark
Texas senior rightfielder Amber Hall
Texas senior pitcher Cat Osterman
Texas sophomore shortstop Desiree Williams