Sophomore right fielder Bekah Alcozer and senior third baseman Celina Felix each register two RBIs
AUSTIN, Texas – Sophomore outfielder Bekah Alcozer hit a two-run HR and senior third baseman Celina Felix bashed a two-run triple to help power Texas softball (26-20) to a 6-0 shutout victory over North Texas (24-24) on a blustery Wednesday evening at Red & Charline McCombs Field.
Felix went 1-for-3 at the plate with her first triple of the season and knocked in a pair of runs during a tone-setting third-inning outburst. Alcozer was 1-for-2 with her fifth HR of the campaign and two RBIs, while senior first baseman Kelli Hanzel added a RBI on a sacrifice fly as part of a 1-for-2 effort.
In the circle for the Longhorns, redshirt sophomore Erica Wright improved to 5-5 overall after scattering four hits, walking three and striking out six over 6.0 shutout innings of work. Sophomore Brooke Bolinger wrapped up the victory out of the bullpen by K’ing a pair during a perfect seventh inning.
Senior center fielder Stephanie Wong utilized her speed to get the Longhorns offense untracked in the bottom of the third. The Austin, Texas, native singled to center with one out, swiped second and moved within 60 feet of pay dirt on a groundout. With two retired and Texas runners at the corners following a Kaitlyn Washington free pass, Felix blasted a two-run triple to the wall in right center for a 2-0 UT advantage.
For the third time in the opening four innings of play, North Texas managed to advance someone into scoring position as designated player Lacy Gregory walked leading off the fourth and moved to second on a sac bunt. Wright continued to strand Mean Green runners, however, by ending the frame on consecutive strikeouts of catcher Nicole Ochotnicki and right fielder Hanna Rebar.
Bidding for more on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth, a Hanzel infield single and walks to Alcozer and Wong loaded the bases full of Burnt Orange & White with two retired. The decision was made by North Texas to summon reliever Jessica Elder out of the bullpen. Senior shortstop Devon Tunning stepped to the plate and drove a promising shot the other way into the gap in left center, but NT center fielder Danielle Gregory raced over from her defensive position to make an inning-ending grab on the run.
The Mean Green got two more on in the fifth via a walk and a bunt single, but again Wright danced out of danger as a bouncer to third was corralled by Felix who stepped on the third base bag for an inning-ending force.
The Longhorns officially blew the contest wide open in their half of the fifth by scoring four unearned runs to nab a 6-0 lead. Washington got things started with a lead-off walk and eventually advanced all the way to third on freshman catcher Taylor Ellsworth’s base knock to left center. Following a steal of second by freshman Tuesday DerMargosian, junior designated player Paige von Sprecken hit a ball to third. On the play, Washington got caught in a rundown between third and home, but was able to score on an errant throw to the plate. From there a Hanzel sacrifice fly and Alcozer’s two-run bomb to left boosted the UT lead to a half dozen tallies.
Trying to get back into the contest, North Texas got its leadoff on in the sixth as designated player Lacy Gregory christened the frame with a base knock to right. An illegal Texas pitch and another Mean Green single put two aboard with two retired, but Wright induced a groundout to short off the bat of pinch hitter Grace Blagg to leave the duo stranded.
That proved to be the last chance for NT as Bolinger struck out a pair during a perfect seventh inning of work to finish off Texas’ 6-0 victory.
Texas Postgame Quotes
Texas Head Coach Connie Clark
On the pitching: I thought it was good to get Erica [Wright] some work tonight. We were planning to go three deep or so with the rotation, but she was just dealing and getting into a rhythm. We really wanted to stay with her and let her work through some things. Brooke [Bolinger] came out of the bullpen. She has been really consistent doing that. I like it. The other pitchers kept warmed up and got a little workout in tonight, so I think we will be sharp for the weekend.
On Stephanie Wong’s base running: She happens to have really great foot speed. It comes down to being real heavy on the bases and knowing when you have that first step or quick read. She is able to make quick adjustments and get from point A to point B very quickly. She has been consistent with that for four years and been a very instinctual base runner for us.
On the upcoming Kansas series: We are back on the road tomorrow. It has been nice to be at home for a little bit of a stretch, but we will just turn it around. The nice thing is we will be able to get a little bit of light work in tomorrow before we head out on the flight. It will be good to stay sharp on the fundamentals. That was something we came back to yesterday. We have to get back to some of the fundamental things and get our confidence built up.
Source- University of Texas Athletics