There’s something about Tulsa and Texas-winning streaks in softball that just don’t mix.
The Golden Hurricane (10-2) handed the Longhorns their first loss of the season Friday, when sophomore Emily Watson tossed a 3-0 shutout as part of the Texas Invitational at McCombs Field.
The loss came shortly after Texas (12-1) posted its 12th consecutive victory to start the season, defeating Abilene Christian 3-2. It marked the third-best start for the Longhorns in program history.
The loss to Tulsa left Texas one win shy of tying the 2013 Longhorns for the second-best start by a UT squad. The 2013 team began the season 13-0 before losing to Tulsa, also at the Texas Invitational.
“Tulsa always has a good ball club,” said Longhorns coach Connie Clark. “We match up well with them, they always play hard and they usually pitch particularly well.”
Watson struck out every Longhorns starter except junior Celina Felix, who has yet to strike out in her collegiate career, including the two years she spent at Mt. San Antonio College in California. Watson gave up two hits and fanned 12 of the 27 Texas batters she faced.
“i think we were getting really aggressive at the plate (against Watson),” Felix said. “We wanted to hit the ball. I think if we were a little more patient, it would have went differently.”
After Tulsa took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, Stephanie Wong and Lindsey Stephens strung together a pair of singles for the Longhorns. However, Watson got Felix to fly out to second base and freshman Reagan Hathaway struck out.
The Golden Hurricane scored its final two runs in the second inning, when Shelby Estocado homered after Morgan Neal singled.
Texas pitcher Tiarra Davis took the loss, allowing six hits while striking out five.
Earlier Friday, Abilene Christian pitcher Hannah Null cooled off Texas’ hot bats after the Longhorns piled up 15 runs against the Wildcats fewer than 24 hours earlier in a game that was shortened to 4½ innings.
Texas took a 2-1 lead in the third inning on a two-run single from Felix that scored Devon Tunning and Wong.
The Wildcats (2-9) tied it in the sixth inning, when a diving catch by second baseman Stephanie Ceo kept the go-ahead run from scoring.
Randel Leahy led off the bottom of the seventh by grounding out to Null, but Christina Bardwell and Ceo hit back-to-back singles before Kelli Hanzel put down a sacrifice bunt. Bardwell scored the game-winning run when a ground ball hit by Tunning was mishandled by ACU first baseman Casey-May Huff.
Sophomore Paige von Sprecken earned the win, throwing a complete game while giving up eight hits and two runs. She struck out four.
The Longhorns will face Tulsa at 10 a.m. Saturday at McCombs Field before playing playing Illinois at 12:30 p.m.