Texas' head coach Connie Clark, whose team rallied for a 3-2 extra-inning win over UTSA March 8, speaks with her team during the Texas Invitational softball tournament at McCombs Field, Friday, Feb. 26, 2016. (Stephen Spillman / for American-Statesman)

Walkoff hit lifts Texas softball team to extra-inning win

Posted March 8th, 2016

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Story highlights
  • Pinch hitter Randel Leahy gets key single.
  • The win marks the fifth walk-off victory of the season for the Longhorns.
  • Texas shortstop Devon Tunning OK after getting spiked, receiving stitches

There’s just something about games between Texas and Texas-San Antonio that creates some kind of magic in the Longhorns.

For the third straight contest between the two teams, the Longhorns (15-3) won in the last at-bat. This time, a bases-loaded single by pinch hitter Randel Leahy in the bottom of the eighth proved to be the difference in Texas’ 3-2 win over the Roadrunners Tuesday at McCombs Field. The win was the fifth walk-off victory of the season for the Longhorns.

Leahy drove home Reagan Hathaway from third after Hathaway doubled with one out in the eighth off UTSA’s Lizzy Fox and went to third on a single by Taylor McAllister. After Fox intentionally walked Christina Bardwell to load the bases, Leahy ripped a single to right-center.

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“I was just really comfortable out there, because I knew that I was going to get the chance to make something happen and my teammates had me pumped up,” Leahy said. “It’s a good win for us, because we had to work for it.”

The Longhorns’ latest uprising made a winner out of pitcher Tiarra Davis (10-2), who entered in the sixth inning and hurled 2 2/3 innings of two-hit ball. Fox (2-6) took the loss for the Roadrunners (6-16).

“I like the way we were resilient tonight and the way we worked through the adjustments we need to win this game,” Texas coach Connie Clark said. “Randel has been swinging the bat well, and we’ve talked about getting her more at-bats.”

Texas broke on top with a run in the first as Lindsey Stephens led off with a single, stole second on the first pitch, took third on a fielder’s choice and scored when UTSA catcher Tess Soefje threw wildly toward the plate when she had to chase a bouncing pitch to the backstop.

The Longhorns could not play add on because it could not solve UTSA starting pitcher Chelsea Parker, who retired 13 straight Texas batter from the first through the fifth innings.

Texas starting pitcher Kristen Clark, who is working through a right forearm injury and has a pitch ceiling, went 1 2/3 innings before lifted for Page von Sprecken.

UTSA finally answered in the top of the sixth, scoring twice on a bases-loaded, two-out error by replacement shortstop Christina Bardwell after von Sprecken walked three batters.

The Longhorns responded in the bottom of the frame. Stephens tripled off the left-field fence to open the inning and came home on a first-pitch single to right by Stephanie Wong. Texas eventually got runners to second and third with one out but UTSA relief pitcher Lizzy Fox struck out the Longhorns’ Stephanie CEO and coaxed Kelli Hanzel to fly out to right to thwart the threat.

Texas starting shortstop Devon Tunning was forced from the game in the second when she was spiked in the left hand while covering second base on a steal attempt by UTSA’s Erica Sanchez. Clark said Tunning received stitches in her hand and was set to come back in the game if it went past the eighth inning.

The Longhorns return to play Wednesday when they hosts North Texas with first pitch set for 6 p.m.

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