Lindsey Stephens is on the list of the best players in college softball for a reason – she’s at her best when it’s the most critical.
So when Kansas walked three straight batters in the fourth inning to bring Stephens to the plate , she knew it was time to make something happen.
Stephens ripped a grand slam over the right field wall to break open a tight contest and eventually help Texas to a 6-0 win over Kansas Sunday afternoon at McCombs Field.
Devin Tunning, Stephanie Ceo and Kelli Hanzel all worked one-out walks in front of Stephens, who got the pitch she was looking with a 3-2 count against Kansas reliever Alexis Reid.
“I really, really liked that pitch,” Stephens said. “I was excited when I saw that (Reid) was coming in in relief because I thought I had a good feel for what she tried to do when she pitched against us yesterday. I was just trying to get the ball in play but a grand slam was good.”
Pitcher Tiarra Davis held the Jayhawks at bay, allowing just five hits and struck out eight batters. Four of her strikeouts came with runners in scoring position.
Davis (19-9) spun back-to-back strikeouts to end the third and fourth innings and had another with Jayhawks on second and third in the fifth. She walked four while the Jayhawks stranded nine baserunners.
“Tiarra does like to make things interesting, doesn’t she?” Texas coach Connie Clark said. “Sometimes I think she works better with the bases loaded than when they are empty, but it sure gives me some gray hairs while she’s loading the bases.”
The Longhorns got on the board in the second when Ceo hit a single off Kansas starter Monique Wesley (4-3) to score Tunning, who doubled with two outs. Wesly took the loss in the circle.
The win pushed the Longhorns (33-14, 7-7) to .500 in the Big 12 for the first time this season after starting the conference campaign 0-3 and losing six of its first eight league games. Texas is now in third place in the conference standings behind Oklahoma and Baylor, two teams that are responsible for five of the Longhorns’ conference losses.
Kansas (28-18, 5-7) lost for the fifth time in its last six games and dropped to fourth place.
Texas has five regular-season games remaining, including a conference road trip to Ames, Iowa to take on last-place Iowa State this upcoming weekend and a home finale against Baylor on May 14.
The Longhorns will be back to field Wednesday when they host North Texas. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.