Texas kept their season alive with a win over the Arizona Wildcats on Sunday night, beating the competition 5-2 to establish themselves in the national semifinals yesterday afternoon.
There, they’ll face a familiar foe at the Oklahoma State Cowgirls, a team that’s gotten their numbers this season. Nonetheless, this is Longhorn’s first appearance in the semi-finals since 2013 and he will be pumped for the opportunity to get his score off the track with OSU as well.
Here are three thoughts on the Longhorns’ massive win over Arizona on Sunday night and what it means for them going forward.
‘Lineup Comes Big’ at the bottom of Texas
The Longhorns’ Jaane Jefferson and Mia Scott would take them on the offensive this post season, but today’s story was at the bottom of the Texas lineup. Courtney Day and JJ Smith, both capable batsmen in their own right, but not names that evoke rotation, were homerun hitters against Arizona, and were responsible for four of Longhorn’s five runs.
Day’s home run came third with empty bases, and gave the Longhorns an early 1-0 lead, which was wiped out in the next inning by a 2 RBI single from Arizona’s Carly Scoopin. Texas came big in the half of the fourth as JJ Smith went deep with a three-run shot that gave Texas a 4-2 lead, which Bella Dayton extended to 5-2 with a single in the fifth. Still, Texas found a way to increase the points and win by a safe margin, which has become a trend for them this post season.
Estelle Czech shuts down the Wildcats
In the fourth inning, it looked like the Wildcats could do more damage then the Longhorns, as Dolcini was in a bind. With two runners on and just one out, Estelle Czech stepped into the circle and brought some stability to the circle. As soon as he entered the game, Arizona’s momentum was wasted then and there.
Relieving Dolcini, the Czech played 3.2 innings for the Longhorns, recording four strikes and allowing just one hit in the rest. Most important statistic: Another run was not scored for the Wildcats, and it gave Texas the confidence and time they needed to survive their season.
Texas closes my argument for the Big 12
I’ve been beating the Big 12 drums all season long, saying it was the queen of convention softball. Now, I don’t have to make that argument anymore, because my point has been proved for me. The Longhorns, along with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, account for 75% of the teams participating in the national semifinals on Monday.
This league may lack the depth of other conferences, as it has only seven teams, but three of those teams have proven themselves at the top of the game. Texas and Oklahoma State had clashed at times this season, but following this season brought everyone together and it landed them in a semi-final matchup for a spot in the National Championship Series.