Thom grand slam helps No. 6/6 Softball to 7-2 victory at Oklahoma State

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Taylor Thom became the 10th player in NCAA history to hit three or more grand slams in a season. (photo by Jesse Drohen)

Junior becomes 10th player in NCAA history to hit three or more grand slams in a season.

STILLWATER, Okla. – A grand slam from junior Taylor Thom helped carry No. 6/6 Texas to a 7-2 victory over Oklahoma State on Sunday afternoon at Cowgirl Stadium and snap a two-game losing streak. Thom’s slam was her third of the season, tied for the fifth most in a year in NCAA history. Thom became the 10th player in NCAA history to smash three or more grand slams in a season.

Thom finished the game with two hits, four runs batted in and two scored. Also helping the Longhorns (43-8, 13-4 Big 12) on offense was junior Brejae Washington, who recorded three hits, including a home run, and scored three times. Senior Torie Schmidt went four-for-four to tie her single-game career high with four hits.

Senior Blaire Luna (25-5) limited Oklahoma State to five hits and two earned runs. She fanned 14 and walked a trio in the complete-game performance. Kat Espinosa (18-16) took the loss for the Cowgirls, yielding seven earned runs on 11 hits and two whiffs in five innings. Simone Freeman came in for the final two frames and gave up two hits and struck out one with one free pass.

The Longhorns jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first to take their initial lead of the weekend. With one out, Washington doubled to right center and came home on a two-out single up the middle from classmate Mandy Ogle. Espinosa ended the threat with a pop out.

Oklahoma State (30-23, 6-9 Big 12) had a chance to answer in the bottom of the first, but three Luna strikeouts prevented the tying run from scoring. Tamara Brown led off with a walk and Tara Ettinger hit a one-out double to left center that put runners on second and third with one down. Luna struck out Samantha Chrisman swinging and Tiffany Mikkelson looking to strand the pair.

In the top of the third, the Longhorns used Thom’s long ball to increase their lead to 5-0. Freshman Stephanie Ceo was hit by a pitch to open the frame, senior Taylor Hoagland followed with a single to left center and Washington put down a bunt for a single that loaded the bases. Thom then cleared the bases with her grand slam. A groundout, fly out and foul out ended the inning.

The Cowgirls had an answer in the bottom of the third, scoring twice to make it a 5-2 Texas advantage. Gessenia DeLaCruz and Brown started the inning with consecutive walks before a push bunt from Ari Morrison rolled past shortstop Ceo and into shallow left center, allowing DeLaCruz to score from second. Ettinger then singled to left to plate Brown to make it a 5-2 contest. Luna bounced back with a pair of strikeouts and groundout to end the threat.

UT added to its lead in the top of the fifth with a leadoff solo home run from Washington. It was her second long ball of the season, tying her single-year career best, set in 2012. Thom followed with a double and scored on a one-out single to center from senior Kim Bruins. Freshman Rachel Scott entered to pinch run for Bruins and moved to third as Schmidt beat out an infield single, but Mikkelson’s throw from third was high and allowed Scott to move to third and Schmidt to second. Espinosa got out of trouble with a fielder’s choice and pop out.

Luna retired eight consecutive batters in the fifth, sixth and seventh before Brown singled to right field with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. A strikeout looking by Morrison ended the contest.

The Longhorns return home for the final regular-season contest of the campaign next Sunday against Baylor for a 1 p.m. first pitch. Before the game, UT's four seniors will be honored. The contest will be televised live on Longhorn Network.

Post-Game Notes

- Senior Taylor Hoagland holds a .618 on-base percentage this season. The UT single-season record is .510, by Lexy Bennett in 2011. The Big 12 Conference mark is .594 by Amber Flores (Oklahoma/2009).

- Hoagland’s two hits gave her 231 in her career, moving past Loryn Johnson (2007-10) for the third most in Texas history. Lexy Bennett (2009-12) owns the UT record with 245 career hits.

- Hoagland’s double in the top of the sixth was her 11th of the season, setting a career high.

- Junior Taylor Thom’s grand slam and double gave her 62 hits for the year, tied for the ninth most in a campaign in program history. Lindsay Gardner (2000) owns the UT single-season record with 83 hits.

- Thom’s grand slam gave her 55 runs batted in this season, two shy of Lexy Bennett’s UT single-year record of 57, set in 2012.

- Thom’s runs upped her season total to 48, tied for the sixth most on the Texas single-season record chart. Hoagland owns the record with 59 runs in 2012.

- In the last 12 games, all Big 12 Conference contests, Thom is batting .486 (17-for-35) with 12 runs batted in, nine scored and eight stolen bases.

- Junior Brejae Washington finished the series at Oklahoma State with a team-best six hits, .545 batting average and three runs scored.

- Washington’s three runs scored matched her career high, done five times.

- Washington’s three runs also moved her into a tie with Tine Boutelle (2003-06) for fifth on the Texas career-record chart with 131.

- Senior Blaire Luna recorded her 25th victory of the campaign. She joins Cat Osterman (2002-06) as the only hurlers in program history to reach 25 or more wins three times in a career.

- Luna recorded her 20th game of 10 or more strikeouts this season, fanning 10.

- Luna struck out 10 or more in each of the three games of this weekend’s series.

- Texas’ stolen base in the top of the second was the team’s 107 this season, tied with 2006 squad for the second most in a year in program history. The 2013 squad is just seven behind the 2011 team’s single-year UT record of 114.

- The Longhorns’ first three hitters in the order combined to go seven-for-12 with two home runs, six runs scored and five driven in.

- UT improved to 21-4 in games this season when hitting one or more home runs.

- After tallying nine hits in the first two games, Texas broke out for 13 during Sunday’s contest.

James Schleicher

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.

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