A lead off home run by senior Taylor Hoagland on the second pitch of the game set the tone for the Texas Longhorns in a 11-2 victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday afternoon.
"One word we've used all year is relentless, agressive, attack," coach Connie Clark said. "I thought we were relentless today and stayed on the attack. It was fantastic and exactly what we're looking for in this time of the season."
With the hot and humid weather at Red & Charline McCombs Field a factor in the game, Texas coaches and players wanted to make sure they were the team that came out victorious in Game 3 in order to rest up until Sunday.
The Longhorns take a huge advantage into tomorrow's game after winning their first two games of the Regional. The 4th-seeded Longhorns get to rest up for the remainder of the afternoon and evening, while South Carolina and the winner of Game 4 (Army or Houston) must battle in an elimination game at 5 p.m. today.
Coach Connie Clark and the Texas players wanted to achieve their goals in the Regional and remain focused throughout.
"There was a lot of talk this week about taking care of business in three," coach Clark said. "I think we've been very focused on us and not our opponent. And anytime this team does that, good things follow."
Texas struck early with the home run by Hoagland to put the Longhorns up 1-0 in the first inning. Texas pitcher Blaire Luna ran into some trouble in the bottom of the first inning, but was able to escape a jam and leave two runners on base.
Hoagland produced again in the second inning on a bases loaded RBI-single to make it 3-0 Texas. Brejae Washington followed the at-bat with a RBI-triple to put the Longhorns up 4-0.
Texas added three more runs in the third inning to make it 7-0 Texas. Gabby Smith hit a bases loaded RBI-single to right-center. Stephaine Ceo hit a bases-loaded RBI-single to center field. Taylor Hoagland followed with a sacrifice fly to deep right to score the runner from third.
South Carolina finally put runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning. The Gamecock's Alaynie Page hit a two-run home run to left and made it 7-2 Texas.
Texas added two more runs in the fourth inning. A lead off double by Taylor Thom started the inning. Kim Bruins followed with a single to right that left the runners on first and third. A groundout by Torie Schmidt allowed Thom to score from third base. Karina Scott hit a RBI-single to right-center on the next at-bat to make it 9-2 Texas.
In the fifth inning Texas added two more insurance runs. Hoagland lead off the inning by drawing a walk. Washington hit a single to right to leave the runners on first and second. Thom hit an RBI-single to right and the runners advanced to second and third on the throw to home plate. Bruins hit an RBI-single to center field to push across Texas' final run, 11-2.
Taylor Hoagland finished with four RBIs and Kim Bruins hit a career-high four hits in the game. Seven Texas players finished with one run batted in—Washington, Thom, Bruins, Schmidt, Scott, Smith, and Ceo.
Blaire Luna (27-5) picked up the win after allowing two runs on three hits and two walks, while striking out six batters over five innings.
Texas' 11 runs are the most for the Longhorns during an NCAA Tournament game in program history. Texas also tied their season high in hits with 15 in the game.
Texas returns on Sunday to face the winner of Game 5 at 1 p.m. CT at Red & Charline McCombs Field. If the Longhorns win on Sunday they will move into the NCAA Super Regional round.