Softball preview: UTSA & Baylor
April 25, 2011
No. 5/6 TEXAS (41-4, 11-0 Big 12) vs. UTSA (25-23, 15-12 Southland) & No. 16/14 Baylor (35-10, 7-5 Big 12)
Texas is ranked No. 6 in the current ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll, released April 19 ... 10 of Texas’ 2011 opponents are ranked in the poll ... six other Big 12 Conference teams appear in the poll, with Missouri ranking eighth, Baylor holding the No. 14 spot, Oklahoma ranking 15th, Nebraska holding the No. 18 spot, Oklahoma State weighing in at No. 20 and Texas A&M ranking 21st ... UT’s No. 4 ranking on April 19 marked its highest ranking since the final poll of the 2005 season when Texas ranked fourth.
Texas is the only unbeaten team in the Big 12 after five weeks of conference play ... the Horns notched a sweep of Texas Tech last weekend, downing the Red Raiders, 15-2 and 9-5 ... sophomore Blaire Luna notched a pair of victories, tossing a complete game in game one and coming on in relief in game two ... in the first tilt, Texas set a new Big 12 record with seven homers and senior catcher Amy Hooks became UT’s all-time homer leader with 34 long-balls ... in game two freshman shortstop Taylor Thom set a new UT single-game record with five hits.
Junior first baseman Lexy Bennett and sophomore rightfielder Taylor Hoagland have been the catalysts for the Longhorns in their first three months of play ... Bennett leads the Big 12 with her .455 average and leads the Horns with 10 doubles, 56 hits, 40 RBI and her school-record 50 runs scored ... Hoagland ranks third on the club with 46 hits and second with 47 runs scored ... sophomore Torie Schmidt bolsters the lineup with her .389 average, 49 hits and 23 runs scored, while senior Amy Hooks boasts a .370 average, 11 homers and 32 RBI.
Texas’ pitching staff has been solid in its first 45 games of the season as sophomore All-America righthander Blaire Luna and freshman Rachel Fox sport a pair of stellar records ... Luna owns a 23-2 mark, a 0.95 ERA and has tossed 22 complete games, a Big 12-best 13 shutouts and fanned 256 batters ... Fox is 17-1 with a 1.19 ERA and has fired 14 complete games and struck out 105 batters ... Luna’s 13 shutouts tie for No. 1 in the NCAA statistics.
The Horns’ 41 victories in their first 45 games mark the best start in UT history (41-4), eclispsing the previous best start from 2006 when Texas started the season 38-4.
In their two-game series at Texas Tech, the Longhorns made several new marks in the UT record books ... in Texas’ game one victory, the Horns blasted a Big 12 record seven home runs, a mark which ties for the third-most in NCAA history ... two of the Horns’ long-balls came off of the bat of senior catcher Amy Hooks who became Texas’ all-time leading home run hitter with 34 dingers ... in game two, freshman shortstop Taylor Thom added to the records when she broke the UT single-game record with five hits.
In its first 45 games of 2011, Texas is hitting .351 as a team and is averaging 6.64 runs per-game ... the Longhorns have already posted 14 run-rule victories after notching 11 in 58 games last season ... the Horns also own 20 shutout victories ... UT has limited opponents to 1.31 runs per-game in 2011.
With the addition of freshman centerfielder Brejae Washington to the 2011 squad has taken their running game to another level ... the speedster has stolen 34 bases this season as she eyes former Horn Shannon Thomas’ record of 35 from 2007 ... Washington is currently second on the single-season charts ... as a team the Longhorns have stolen 101 bases and are chasing the 107 steals that the 2006 team notched ... Taylor Hoagland aids the effort with 20 stolen bases, Taylor Thom has swiped 13 and Torie Schmidt has notched 11, while Courtney Craig has moved into the top 10 on UT’s steal chart with 36 career steals.