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Texas Softball Advances to Super Regional
Updated: Sunday, May 19 2013, 10:22 PM CDT
Two home runs from junior Taylor Thom drove in six runs and lifted No. 6/7 Texas to a 6-0 victory over South Carolina on Sunday in the NCAA Softball Austin Regional championship at Red & Charline McCombs Field. Thom hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the first and a grand slam in the fifth, setting the UT record for RBI during an NCAA Tournament contest.
The grand slam was Thom’s fourth of the season and she became the fifth player in NCAA history with four or more slams during a campaign. With the six runs batted in, Thom raised her season total to 63, the most in a year in Texas history.
In the circle, senior Blaire Lune (28-5) went the distance, recording eight strikeouts and scattering five hits and four walks. Luna did not allow a hit in six bases-loaded situations in earning her 11th shutout of the campaign. Katie Marks (8-8) recorded the loss for the Gamecocks, tossing four-and-a-third frames. She gave up six runs on five hits, including the two Thom home runs. Julie Sarratt came in for the remaining one-and-two-thirds and allowed just one walk.
South Carolina had a chance to score in the top of the first as Luna started the game with two walks and a hit by pitch to load the bases. The Gamecocks were unable to capitalize, though, as Luna struck out the next three batters to get out of the bind.
After the defensive hold, the Longhorns took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the frame. Senior Taylor Hoagland started the Texas offense with a free pass to and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior Brejae Washington. Thom stepped up to the plate and hit a two-run homer to left field, breaking the Texas RBI record with her 58th and 59th of the season. Two lineouts closed the inning.
South Carolina loaded the bases with no outs again in the second inning after a single to the left side and two nicely placed bunts that avoided UT infielders. A drive to center by shortstop Samie Garcia was scooped off the hop by center fielder Washington, who threw to catcher Mandy Ogle, who tagged out pinch runner Brooke Barnhill. A groundball to shortstop was snatched by Thom, who tossed home for the force out. A pop fly was caught by freshman second baseman Stephanie Ceo in shallow right to close the inning.
Both teams went quietly until the bottom of the fifth inning, when Thom struck again. Texas loaded the bases with one out after Ceo walked, Hoagland reached on an error by the shortstop and Washington singled with blooper to shallow center field. Thom cleared the bases with a grand slam to left center, marking her fourth grand slam of the season, and improving the Texas lead to 6-0.
Luna retired six of the final seven batters she faced, surrendering only a one-out walk in the seventh to seal the victory.
With the 6-0 win, the Longhorns advance to the NCAA Softball Super Regional Tournament. Site, dates and times have not yet been announced.
- Senior Taylor Hoagland holds a .626 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 runs gave her 63 this season. She has already set the UT single-season mark and is one run shy of entering the Big 12 Conference’s top-10 list.
- Hoagland’s walk gave her 172 in her career, tied with Texas A&M’s Megan Gibson (2005-08) for the all-time Big 12 mark.
- Hoagland’s steal of second in the third inning gave her 25 this season, a personal best and the fifth most in a year in program history.
- After her zero-for-three performance at Oklahoma State on May 4, Hoagland is hitting .614 (eight-for-13) with five walks.
- Junior Taylor Thom’s six runs batted in gave her 63 this year, breaking Lexy Bennett’s UT single-season record of 57, set in 2012.
- Thom’s 63 RBI are tied for the ninth most in a year in Big 12 Conference history. Oklahoma’s Samantha Ricketts owns the league mark with 81 in 2007.
- The two homers by Thom upped her season total to 14, tied for the third most in a year in program history. Hoagland owns the Texas single-season record with 18 long balls in 2012.
- Thom is up to 67 hits this season, tied with junior Brejae Washington for the fifth most in a year in program history.
- Junior Brejae Washington picked up her 67th hit of the campaign, tied with Thom for the fifth most in a year in program history.
- Senior Blaire Luna posted a 0.93 earned-run average during the three regional contests. She fanned 19 in 15.0 innings.
- Texas swept its way through a regional for the first time since 2006, when it topped UTSA 4-0, Indiana 3-and Utah 3-0.
- UT has scored 337 runs this season, the second most in a year in program history. The 2012 squad set the mark with 372 runs.
- The Longhorns outscored their opponents 6-0 during the first inning of the Austin Regional.
- Texas’ stolen base in the second inning gave the team 113 this season, good for second on the single-season record chart. The 2013 squad is just four behind the 2011 team’s single-year UT record of 114.
- UT did not allow a hit to South Carolina in six at bats with the bases loaded.
- The Longhorns outscored their opponents 22-2 during the NCAA Austin Regional.
- Texas hit .352, slugged .606 and posted a .402 on-base percentage during the three weekend contests.