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Texas Softball Advances to Regional Final
Updated: Saturday, May 18 2013, 10:11 PM CDT
No. 6/7 Texas scored in every inning and cruised to an 11-2 five-inning victory over South Carolina in the third game of the NCAA Softball Austin Regional on Saturday at Red & Charline McCombs Field.
UT’s 11 runs are the most for the Longhorns during an NCAA Tournament contest in program history. The squad also matched its season high with 15 hits. Leading the way on offense was senior Taylor Hoagland, who went two-for-two with four batted in and three scored. Classmate Kim Bruins set her career high with four hits and scored once. Hoagland tied the Longhorn record for most RBI during a regional contest while Bruins matched the UT regional record for hits in a game.
In the circle, senior Blaire Luna (27-5) recorded the win for the Longhorns. She allowed only three hits with fanned six while pitching all five innings. Julie Sarratt (12-8) suffered the loss for the Gamecocks, pitching two-and-one-third innings and allowing eight hits and seven runs, six earned. Katie Marks came in for an inning-and-a-third and gave up two runs on four hits. Lakyn Shull completed the South Carolina pitching effort with two runs and three hits in one frame.
Hoagland got the Texas offense off to a strong start by hitting a solo home run on the second pitch of the game.
The South Carolina offense started the bottom of the first with a free pass to Samie Garcia. With one out, Dana Hathorn singled to left and an error advanced the runners to second and third. Luna pitched her way out of the bind, though, by striking out Kristen Struett and getting Chelsea Hawkins to foul out to catcher Mandy Ogle.
Texas loaded the bases in the second inning and made it a 3-0 advantage with a Hoagland two-RBI single up the middle. With one out, Brejae Washington tripled to center field to bring Hoagland home and put the Longhorns ahead 4-0.
UT loaded the bases again in the third inning and took a 7-0 lead. With one out, singles to right field and up the middle by Gabby Smith and Stephanie Ceo, respectively, brought in two runs. With the bases still loaded, Hoagland hit a sacrifice fly to right to plate Karina Scott.
The Gamecocks got on the board in the bottom of the third when Alaynie Page hit a two-run homer to center field to go down 7-2.
The top of the fourth had the Longhorns plate two more runs for a 9-2 edge. The frame started with a double down the right-field line by Taylor Thom, who advanced to third after a base hit by Bruins. Rachel Scott came in to pinch run for Bruins. With one out, Schmidt grounded out to third, but Thom beat the tag at home plate to go up 8-2. Rachel Scott advanced to second on the play and scored when Karina Scott dropped a fly ball to right field that fell in and pushed the lead to 9-2.
With one out in the top of the fifth inning, Hoagland was walked and a single by Washington pushed Hoagland to second. Thom stepped up and singled to right to bring Hoagland home and advance Washington to third. A single by Bruins scored Washington and Texas closed the inning up 11-2.
With the eight-run-rule after five innings, the Gamecocks needed to score in the bottom of the fifth to keep playing, but Texas’ defense didn’t budge. A foul out and two groundouts ended the game.
Texas will play on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT in the NCAA Austin Regional championship game. A victory moves the Longhorns into the NCAA Super Regional round.