12 May

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Texas Softball – Senior Presence Felt in Softball’s 3-2 Walk-Off win Over No. 17 Baylor

Texas Softball walked off with a 3-2 win over #17:17 Baylor

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Softball walked off with a 3-2 win over #17/17 Baylor on Senior Day at Red & Charline McCombs Field. Going to the final inning tied at two, senior Brejae Washington, the school's all-time hits leader started the rally with one of her signature bunt singles, setting up fellow senior Taylor Thom's heroics. With one out, Thom, who is UT's all-time career RBIs leader, ripped a bullet into right-center field to score Washington for the game-winning run, capping a game that was dominated by all four Texas seniors.

(Also Read: Texas Softball Heads to Lafayette for NCAA Regional)

"It couldn't have been scripted any better," Clark said.

A sold-out crowd saw the Longhorns finish the regular season with a 33-21 record and a 12-6 mark in the Big 12 Conference play before beginning NCAA Tournament play later this week. Baylor falls to 42-13 and 13-5.

The game marked the final home appearance for seniors Thom, Washington, Mandy Ogle, and Karina Scott. The seniors were recognized in a pregame ceremony.




At the plate, the seniors went 5-for-11 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Thom and Ogle paced the offense, collecting two hits and one RBI apiece. Freshman Devon Tunning extended her hitting streak to five games with a single in the second inning. Over the past nine games, the third baseman is hitting .478 (11-for-22). In the field, the seniors also had a presence. Ogle threw out a pair of base runners attempting to steal second base in the second and fifth inning, while Scott made a sensational grab at first base and was able to turn a double play at second base from the ground in the third inning.

Freshman Tiarra Davis got the win in her 22nd complete game of the season. The southpaw struck out one batter and walked three as she ran her record to 18-12 during the 2014 season. Davis surrendered eight hits and one earned run on the afternoon.

The Longhorns jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning. With one out and runners on the corners, Ogle doubled to center field to score freshmanDevon Tunning. Freshman Stephanie Wong followed with a sacrifice fly to left field to plate junior Gabby Smith.

Baylor answered with single runs in the third and fifth innings. In the third inning, Holly Holl hit a two-out, RBI single up the middle to trim the lead to 2-1. The Lady Bears got their second run in the fifth behind a single and fielding error. With one out, Ari Hawkins hit a single up the middle that got passed the center fielder Washington, allowing Kaitlyn Trumann to score and tie the game at 2.

Texas will learn its postseason fate tonight during the NCAA Division I Softball Championship Selection Show, which will be televised live on ESPNU starting at 9 p.m. CT.


 

POSTGAME NOTES

Team Notes                                                                                               
- After taking two of three from Baylor this season, Texas leads the all-time series 26-13.
- The Longhorns hold a 13-5 mark over the Lady Bears when playing in Austin.
- Texas has won five consecutive regular season series over Baylor.
- The Longhorns are now 6-9 against nationally ranked opponents this season.
- Sunday's attendance of 1,304 spectators was the largest crowd at Red & Charline McCombs Field this season.

Taylor Thom
- Went 2-for-4, including the walk-off RBI-double in the bottom of the seventh inning.
- Caps off regular season play with 42 RBIs on the year and a school record 175 RBIs for her career.

Brejae Washington
- Went 1-for-4 and scored the game-winning run.
- Led off the bottom of the seventh with a bunt-single to set up Thom's walk-off hit.
- Matched her career high with her 70th hit of the season, which ties her 2013 output.
- 70 hits is tied for fifth-most in a single season in Texas Softball history.
- Winning run marked her career-best 48th run of the year, giving her 183 for her career (Second in Texas history).

Tiarra Davis
- Improved to 18-12 on the season and 10-5 in Big 12 play.
- Scattered eight hits and three walks en route to allowing two runs and one earned run.
- Hurled her 22nd complete game of the season.

Devon Tunning
- Hit a single in the second inning and came around to score UT's first run of the game.
- Extended her hitting streak to five games, matching a season-high.
- Hitting .478 (11-for-23) over last nine games.

Mandy Ogle
- Went 2-for-3, including an RBI-double in the third inning to plate Texas' first run.
- Ogle now has a career-high 10 multi-hit contests, including six over the last 16 games.
- Threw out two runners attempting to steal second base.

Gabby Smith
- Collected a hit in six of the last seven contests.
- Hitting .555 (11-for-20) in Big 12 play.


POSTGAME QUOTES

Head coach Connie Clark

On today's game: It couldn't have been scripted any better. The seniors were amazing today. You always have to have extra conversations with the seniors throughout the week about keeping the emotions in check and slowing everything down and enjoying the moment. Defensively, Karina [Scott] was big and Taylor ThomBrejae Washington and Mandy Ogle were the difference makers offensively. We're really proud of them. They had great tenacity and they had to keep grinding. That bodes well going into postseason.

On the last inning: When Brejae put that bunt down, the bat happened to be right there at the right time. The game pays you back sometimes. Sometimes it's painful and sometimes it pays you back. When I saw that happen, I thought, "Here we go." To have Taylor Thom at the plate, seeing the ball well and being the RBI-leader, it was just scripted perfectly.

On upcoming postseason: I'm excited about it. I think we've grown a lot as a team this year. I think our best is potentially in front of us this week. The young ones have really learned a lot and this group has learned to play mentally tough and play for each other. I think everything is hitting at the right time.

Taylor Thom

On senior day: To play senior day in front of these amazing fans and the big crowd that we had and to go out in style like that is an amazing day. I'm very blessed to play here at The University of Texas and I'm sad to say it was my last game here [at McCombs Field], but it was a great way to end.

On her final at-bat: As a softball player, you're supposed to live for moments like that. If I can come up and win the ball game with a gap-hit like that with Brejae's speed, you have to want that moment and I was able to get it done today.

On momentum: Baylor is an amazing team. They have great pitching, defense and offense, so for us to be able to take two from them in the series and take that into postseason is a lot of momentum. We have to keep pitching like Tiarra [Davis] did today and keep scoring runs and playing great defense, and we're going to be great.

On leadership to the freshmen heading into postseason play: It's not necessarily what you tell them, it's what you show them. I think we can show them by our passion and how much fun we have. We know how to win in postseason so I think it's something we're definitely going to have to show them and lead by example.

James Schleicher is the publisher of Horns Illustrated magazine. He's also a fifth generation Texan and lifelong Austinite. Follow @HornsIllus twitter to keep up with all things Horns Illustrated.