COLLEGE STATION – For the third time this season, Texas softball fell to the Texas State Bobcats by a score of 2-1, this time at the College Station Regional in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
“Credit Texas State, I think they got the hits when they needed to,” Texas coach Connie Clark said. “It was a good battle, back and forth. Bottom line, I think when it came down to it they executed and when we had a couple opportunities to do that, we did not.”
A walk-off RBI single by Texas State first baseman Taylor Webb that scored center fielder Christiana McDowell in the bottom of the 12th ended a 1-1 tied that stood since the fourth inning.
Longhorn pitcher Tiarra Davis (8-10) took the loss while throwing a career-high 184 pitches in 11 2/3 innings of work. She allowed seven hits while also striking out seven.
“That was one of the grittiest games I’ve seen her in, probably the grittiest performance I’ve seen this year,” Clark said of Davis. “It’s right up there in the top five for her career. I just thought she was tremendous and that type of pitch count, 184 pitch count, something we haven’t gotten out of her all year. I thought she stayed very poised and gave us every opportunity.”
Davis called time with one out in the top of the 11th to have a trainer look at her left hand. She said after the game it was a blister that popped but that she was fine.
She went on to strike out the next batter she faced and finished the inning but was pulled in the 12th with two outs. Brooke Bolinger replaced Davis and gave up the game-winning hit.
“We had a game plan going in,” Davis said. “The way their hitters were seeing me, it was time to make a change. As a competitor, you always want to stay out there, you always want to be out there for your team so it is what it is. We’re going to look forward to tomorrow and compete against whoever we have.”
Despite the long outing by Davis, Clark said that Davis could still play tomorrow when the Longhorns (31-25) face Texas Southern tomorrow in the elimination round.
“Right now, it’s a one-game season,” Clark said. “(Davis) will do what we need her to do, but we’ve got a group of other pitchers that will be able to help us through tomorrow as well.”
Texas State (42-15) got on the board first in the second inning with a one-run homer by third baseman Corrina Liscano over the center field wall.
With two outs in the fourth inning, Texas first baseman Kelli Hanzel tied the game with an RBI double that scored freshman catcher Taylor Ellsworth. Hanzel’s double was nearly a home run, bouncing off the center field wall just inches from the top of the fence.
Back-to-back doubles in the fifth inning by Texas left fielder Kaitlyn Washington and center fielder Stephanie Wong put the Longhorns in good position to score with runners on second and third with no outs. However, Texas wasn’t able to capitalize, stranding both runners.
Pinch hitter Randel Leahy and shortstop Devon Tunning were consecutively walked, both on four pitches by Texas State pitcher Randi Rupp (28-9), putting runners on first and second with two outs in the top of the seventh. Freshman second baseman Jade Gortarez struck out the next at bat, marking the second inning in which Texas left runners stranded. The Longhorns left 12 runners on base throughout the game.