Softball off to strong start
Feb. 8, 2013
Alex Hubbard, TexasSports.com
On Thursday night, Luna delivered a performance worth noticing.
Luna threw her fifth career no-hitter and struck out 14, leading No. 7/9 Texas to a 6-0 victory over Texas A&M Corpus-Christi in both teams’ season opener.
“(Blaire) really bore down mentally, which is something she is going to have to do for us day in and day out,” Clark said.
Early in the season, Texas will rely on the leadership of Luna and the seven other returning starters. One of those returners, senior Taylor Hoagland, connected on her 45th career home run, a mark that ranks first on the Texas career list. Hoagland’s three-run shot in the bottom of the second gave Texas a 4-0 lead.
While Luna gets credit for the no-hitter, both Luna and Clark pointed out the importance of junior catcher Mandy Ogle. The Texas coaches have given Ogle more responsibility with the pitching staff, and are counting on her to call the game from behind the plate.
“The unsung hero is Mandy Ogle. She’s reading hitters and moving around in the box,” Clark said. “She knows what Blaire’s go-to stuff is. They have really tremendous trust. That’s one of the reasons you saw the goose egg on the scoreboard.”
Echoed Luna: “(Mandy) does a really good job of calling pitches. I have a lot of confidence in her back there. And she knows what I’m thinking, we are almost always on the same page.”
The Longhorns have a unique blend of talented returners and talented rookies. Ten players return from last year’s team, and six freshmen arrive on campus for their first softball season.
All six freshmen saw action in the season opener. Freshman catcher/third baseman Erin Shireman hit a two-run home run in her first collegiate plate appearance. The six newcomers provide the Longhorns with a lot of talent and a lot of depth.
The key for the Longhorns this season, according to Luna, is to avoid “overthinking.” If the team remains focused, consistent and positive results should follow.
“That’s why we focus on the controllable items,” Clark said. “Hopefully it pans out for us.”