By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Texas offense that was kept quiet for the first two games of the series with Oklahoma State broke out in a big way Sunday to prevent the Cowgirls from completing the sweep of the sixth-ranked Longhorns.
UT, which hadn't been able to crack Cowgirl senior pitcher Kat Espinosa in 14 innings of work Friday and Saturday, finally figured things out and rolled to a 7-2 victory over OSU.
"They are a tough team to hold down for that many innings, I will say," OSU coach Rich Wieligman said. "But for us to give up really just one big inning over three games is just hats off to our pitching. They are a good hitting team that deserves their ranking, but I thought our kids did great this weekend.
"I don't want them to focus on today's game. To take two out of three is huge. It's a credit to them coming out fighting and playing hard for OSU."
The Longhorns blew up OSU's Senior Day with a big blast in the third inning with a grand slam by Taylor Thom, Texas' normal shortstop who was injured during pregame warmups on Friday. The inning started with a hit by the pitch followed by back-to-back singles to set up Thom's shot landed just short of the street past the left field wall.
"We gave them that one inning. You take away that big four spot and it's a 3-2 ballgame," Wieligman said.
Oklahoma State responded in the bottom half of the frame with its only two runs of the contest.
The rally started with leadoff walks to Gessenia DeLaCruz and Tamara Brown. A bunt single by Ari Morrison that got past the left side of the infield allowed DeLaCruz to score from second and Tarah Ettinger followed with a single to left to plate Brown. That would be all for OSU, however, as the next three Cowgirls went down in order.
Texas built the lead back up with another home run, a leadoff shot to right by Brejae Washington in the top of the fifth. But that wasn't all for the Longhorns in the fifth, with another run scoring with a single by Kim Bruins to plate Thom — who followed the home run with a double.
Blaire Luna finished with 36 strikeouts for the series, getting 14 on Sunday after 11 strikeouts in each of the first two games. But it wasn't until Sunday that she finally got the run support to go with her pitching — ultimately giving up just five runs in the three games.
"That's a super regional team right there and we just took two of three from them," Wieligman said. "I fully expect Texas to be in the World Series. They've got all the components. I think Luna threw her best game today. I thought she was just a little bit more on than she was in the previous games."
After winning two out of three against a Texas team that is ranked second in the RPI, Oklahoma State will now turn its attention to the team atop of the RPI and all the rankings — Bedlam rival Oklahoma. The three-game series will begin at 6 p.m. Friday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.