Softball preview: State Farm Lone Star Showdown
May 3, 2011
No. 3/4 TEXAS (44-5, 13-1 Big 12) vs. No. 22/22 Texas A&M (36-13, 8-5 Big 12)
State Farm Lone Star Showdown:
Texas is ranked No. 4 in the current ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll, released May 3 ... Nine of Texas' 2011 opponents are ranked in the poll ... six other Big 12 Conference teams appear in the poll, with Missouri ranking eighth, Oklahoma holding the No. 15 spot, Oklahoma State ranking 18th, Baylor holding the No. 19 position, Nebraska weighing in at No. 20 and Texas A&M ranking 22nd.. UT's No. 3 ranking on April 26 marked its highest ranking since Feb. 22, 2005 when UT ranked third.
Texas is the only one-loss team in the Big 12 after six weeks of conference play ... the Horns notched split their weekend series with No. 14 Oklahoma, falling 5-2 in game one and winning the second contest, 5-3 to move their Big 12 mark to 13-1 ... sophomore All-American Blaire Luna tossed a pair of complete games and picked up her 56th career win and moved into third-place all-time at Texas with 680 strikeouts ... sophomore rightfielder Taylor Hoagland headlined the Horns' offense on the weekend with a pair of homers to tie the UT single-season homer record with 13.
Texas entered the 2011 season with a team goal of breaking the Texas single-season team stolen base record ... the Horns have stolen 106 bags in 2011 and are only one away from tying the record of 107 set by the 2006 club ... additionally, freshman centerfielder Brejae Washington has stolen 34 bases and is one away from equaling the UT record 35 steals set by Shannon Thomas in 2006.
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 hast totaled 49 hits and has equaled Bennett's record with 50 runs scored ... sophomore Torie Schmidt bolsters the lineup with her .368 average, 49 hits and 23 runs scored, while senior Amy Hooks boasts a .362 average, 12 homers and 34 RBI.
Texas' pitching staff has been solid in its first 49 games of the season as sophomore All-America righthander Blaire Luna and freshman Rachel Fox sport a pair of stellar records ... Luna owns a 26-3 mark, a 1.06 ERA and has tossed 25 complete games, a Big 12-best 14 shutouts and fanned 276 batters ... Fox is 18-1 with a 1.11 ERA and has fired 14 complete games and struck out 118 batters ... Luna's 14 shutouts tie for No. 1 in the NCAA statistics.
The Horns' 44 victories in their first 49 games mark the second-best start in UT history (44-5) ... Texas started the 2006 season 49-5 ... Texas' 12-0 start to Big 12 play marked its best start in program history with the previous two best starts coming in 2002 and 2006 (11-1).
In its first 49 games, Texas is hitting .344 as a team and is averaging 6.35 runs per-game ... the Longhorns have already posted 14 run-rule victories after notching 11 in 58 games last season ... the Horns own 21 shutout victories and have limited opponents to 1.39 runs per-game in 2011.
In 2011, junior Lexy Bennett and sophomore Taylor Hoagland have both broken the UT single-season runs scored mark, tallying 50 runs apiece to best the previous mark of 48 by Desiree Williams in 2009 ... Hoagland has also blasted 13 home runs to equal the UT single-season mark set by junior Courtney Craig in 2010 ... senior catcher Amy Hooks' has pushed her career homer total to 35 in 2011 to set a new UT career long-ball record.
In the most recent edition of the NCAA statistics (May 3) the Longhorns rank in the top 5 nationally in pitching, hitting and defense ... the Horns rank No. 1 in the nation with their 1.20 team earned run average, No. 2 with their .982 fielding percentage and No. 4 with their .344 team batting average.
Senior captain Amy Hooks is enjoying the best year of her career, serving as a field general behind the dish, while causing havoc at the plate ... in Big 12 play, Hooks is hitting .429 (18-for-42) with 12 runs scored, a league-best six homers, 12 RBI, three doubles, a .929 slugging percentage and a .510 on-base mark ... during league play she ranks second in the Big 12 in batting average and on-base percentage , first in homers and slugging, while ranking sixth in runs, hits and RBI.