Cougars fall to Longhorns despite power surge
It was a pink-out at Cougar Softball Stadium as the Cougars hosted the No. 25 Texas Longhorns for the ninth annual Striking Out Breast Cancer game Wednesday night.
The fourth largest crowd in school history was in for an exciting night. The teams went back-and-forth all evening and put on a power show, with a total of seven home runs hit and the Longhorns propelling to a 13-12 win.
“We play for something bigger than ourselves,” junior pitcher Julana Shrum said. “This game wasn’t about us. We play to raise money for a good cause, and it shows this team really cares about something bigger than us.”
The scoring started quick when the Longhorns hit a two-run home run, following a leadoff double in the top of the first. The lead didn’t last for long, as the Cougars followed up with a two-run blast by senior shortstop Selena Hernandez, in the bottom of the frame.
After a scoreless second, the Longhorns went up 3-2 following a lead-off homerun before the Cougars ended a rally with their 27th double play of the season.
Houston rallied in the bottom of the inning for three runs after sophomore third baseman Shelby Miller singled home. Hernandez was brought home when Shrum sent one over the centerfield wall for a 5-3 lead.
Following a 1-2-3 top of the fourth, the Cougars offense erupted for 5 runs, capped off by a Shrum grand slam, her second homerun of the game and ninth of the season, after the first six batters of the inning reached safely.
The Longhorns would not go out quietly, though, putting up a grand slam of their own in the fifth and forcing Shrum out. Senior Summer Groholski came in and got out of another bases loaded jam to preserve Houston’s lead at 10-7.
Texas put up another four runs in the sixth for an 11-10 lead, which was short-lived as Hernandez tied it up in the bottom of the inning on her second homerun of the game.
The Longhorns would add two more runs in the seventh, and the Cougars were unable to finish the comeback, falling 13-12 with the tying run on second.
The lethal 3-4-5 combination of Hernandez, Miller and Shrum finished 8-11 with four homeruns and 10 RBI while scoring 8 runs.
“I think we just depend on the one in front of us to get on,” Shrum said. “We say, ‘If you get on, I’ll hit you in,’ and we’ll just keep it going.”
The Cougars return to conference play this weekend. They will host East Carolina for a three-game series, starting with a doubleheader Friday with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. and game two starting shortly afterward.
“This game is over and done with, so (we’ll) just move onto the next game and go out and attack. We’re ready to dominate,” Shrum said.