FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE TEXAS SOFTBALL
Texas softball equals longest game in program history by beating Texas Tech, 4-1 (14 inn.)
The marathon tied Texas’ 1-0 (14 inn.) victory over Mississippi State on March 1, 2002, for UT’s longest contest
LUBBOCK, Texas – It took three hours and 31 minutes to play, saw over 400 combined pitches thrown and equaled the longest game in Texas softball program history, and in the end, the Longhorns (21-18, 1-6 Big 12 Conference) battled to pick up an important league road victory by outlasting Texas Tech (17-21, 4-6 Big 12 Conference), 4-1 (14 inn.).
The last time the Longhorns went 14 innings was back on March 1, 2002, as then freshman Cat Osterman struck out 23 while tossing every single frame during UT’s 1-0 victory over Mississippi State in Tallahassee, Fla.
The Texas offense banged out 10 hits against the Red Raiders led by freshman right fielder Kaitlyn Washington’s 3-for-6 effort with two doubles and a RBI. Sophomore pinch hitter/right fielder Bekah Alcozer came through with a key two-run single in her only at-bat during UT’s decisive three-run outburst in the top of the 14th.
In the circle for the Burnt Orange & White, redshirt sophomore Erica Wright earned a no decision after striking out a season-high 12 batters over a career-best nine frames of work while allowing one earned run on just two hits. Sophomore Brooke Bolinger (6-2) earned the triumph in relief, tossing five innings of three-hit ball with two walks and five strikeouts.
Texas’ offense struck first against Texas Tech starter Kassidy Scott by nabbing a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Freshman catcher Taylor Ellsworth got things underway by leading off the frame with a chopper just inside the third base line. Following a pair of groundouts that moved the Georgetown, Texas, native within 60 feet of pay dirt, Washington came through with her first big hit of the match-up on a RBI bloop single into shallow center to score her fellow rookie teammate.
Looking for an immediate response in its half of the second, TTU got off to a positive start as catcher Susan Welborn drew a lead-off walk. Center fielder Kiani Ramsey hit a one-out bouncer back to the circle that Wright corralled. The hurler tried to get the lead runner at second, but her throw was judged to be just late as the Red Raiders boasted two on. Wright quickly got herself out of the threat, however, by striking out shortstop Brittany Warnecke before getting designated player Ashley Fultz to pop-up.
Still without a hit into the bottom of the fourth, the Red Raiders made their initial one count as first baseman Jessica Hartwell blasted a solo homer to deep left to dead-lock things at 1-1.
A lead-off Warnecke walk and a one-out stolen base by pinch runner Camaury Washington gave TTU another base runner in scoring position in the fifth. Wright again fought her way out of danger by recording her seventh strikeout and getting a fly out in foul ground to left.
For the fourth time in six innings of work, the Longhorns managed to get a lead-off base hit as senior third baseman Celina Felix opened the top of the sixth by ripping a single past third. The Montclair, Calif., native eventually moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch, but Texas again missed an opportunity to score as a bouncer to short left her stranded.
Heading to the seventh in a tie game, Washington tried to give the Longhorns life by blasting a double to the wall in left center to open the frame. Standing at third following a perfect sacrifice bunt by freshman second baseman Malory Schattle, Washington was forced to stay put on a bouncer to third before being joined on the base paths by senior shortstop Devon Tunning on an intentional walk. Rookie pinch hitter Kaitlyn Slack stepped to the plate with a chance to push UT to the lead, but her bouncer up the middle resulted in a fielder’s choice play at second to end the threat.
Wright quickly retired the Red Raiders in order in the last half of the seventh to send the two teams to extra innings.
Senior first baseman Kelli Hanzel christened the top of the ninth with a lead-off single through the left side of the infield and advanced to third on a pair of groundouts. Unfortunately for the Horns, their left stranded total expanded to eight overall on a swinging strikeout.
Facing uncharted collegiate territory by tossing into the ninth inning, Wright issued a one-out walk to Welborn to put the potential winning run aboard. UT’s starter responded to the free pass by registering consecutive K’s to improve her strikeout total to 12 in the contest.
With Bolinger entering the game in relief of Wright starting the bottom of the 10th, Welborn greeted her rudely by beating out a lead-off single to deep short. Pinch hitter Kaylee Strickland stepped to the dish and hit a promising shot to center, but senior Stephanie Wong raced over and made a diving catch for a huge first out. A caught stealing on a strong throw from Ellsworth and a fly out to right sent the squads on to the 11th.
Texas got its lead-off on again starting the 12th as Washington reached on an error at second. Joined on the base paths by Tunning via a two-out intentional walk, the duo never moved from their positions as a strikeout left them stranded.
TTU managed a huge scoring chance of its own with two down in the bottom of the 12th as an error and a single to left put Red Raiders at second and third. Bolinger fought her way out of danger by way of the strikeout, K’ing Workman to conclude the threat.
Finally in the top of the 14th, Washington christened the key Texas outburst as her second two-bagger of the game put the lead-off on again for the Horns. With the bases loaded following Tunning’s third intentional free pass of the game, Alcozer delivered the biggest hit of the game by blooping a two-RBI single to center, plating a pair for a 3-1 lead. A failed fielder’s choice try to the plate on a Felix chopper soon scored another as the Longhorns pushed their advantage to 4-1.
From there, Bolinger closed out UT’s victory over the Red Raiders in the bottom of the 14th on a pair of groundouts and her fifth K of the contest.
Source- Texas Athletics