At this point of the season, a mid-week, non-conference game for the Texas softball team is just another practice.
So when the Longhorns looked as though they were going through the motions during the final innings of a 4-2 win over North Texas Wednesday at McCombs Field, it could almost be excused.
Texas’ Holly Kern was into the game enough to drive home three runs with a single and a triple and Tiarra Davis was sharp in the circle for her four-inning stint as the Longhorns (34-14) won for seventh time in eight games.
The Longhorns managed seven hits off North Texas starter Lauren Craine (1-6), but none after the third inning when Craine was lifted for Jessica Elder with no outs and two runners on base. Elder pitched out of the jam and retired all 12 batters she faced.
Texas opened the scoring in the first inning as Lindsey Stephens, Celina Felix and Kern had consecutive singles, with Kern’s hit driving home Stephens from second base and advancing Felix to third. Paige von Sprecken then lifted a sacrifice fly to right field that plated Felix and pushed the Longhorns’ lead to 2-0.
Texas added to their advantage in the second inning when Kelli Hanzel ripped a two-out double and Stephens walked in advance of Kern’s two-RBI triple to center field.
Davis (20-9) earned the win with another strong outing. Davis allowed three hits and struck out seven. Her 20 victories are a career-best; she won 19 as a freshman in 2014.
Davis was lifted to begin the fifth in favor of Kristin Clark and the Mean Green found a way to solve the Longhorns’ reliever, cutting the Texas lead in half on a two-out, two-RBI single by Karli Williams. Von Sprecken entered in the sixth and retired the side in order.
“Our goal was to get three pitchers in the game and we did and we did a pretty nice job of staying on the attack,” Texas coach Connie Clark said. “It would have been nice to put up a few more runs but our focus was pretty good today. That’s the challenge this time of year. To get one of these mid weeks with a bumped up time was difficult, but I like the way we handled it.”