Texas Softball wins twice Saturday to reach Sunday's championship
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Junior Taylor Thom’s second four-for-four performance in the last five games plus a complete game from sophomore pitcher Gabby Smith carried No. 6/6 Texas to a 13-2 victory in five innings over the Utah State Aggies Saturday morning at Red & Charline McCombs Field. The win sets Texas up for a semifinal matchup versus Lamar or Utah State Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. CT.
Thom recorded her team-leading sixth multiple-hit game of the season with an NCAA single-game record-tying three doubles and a single. She added four runs batted in and improved her batting average to .619 in the last six games. Nine of Thom’s last 13 hits have gone for extra bases with four doubles and five home runs. She is slugging 1.524 over the span.
Smith improved to 2-0 on the season, throwing all five innings and allowing two runs, both unearned, on three hits and two walks. Smith thrived in the batter’s box as well, matching her career high with two hits and driving in a personal-best three runs.
Texas (14-1) got on the board in the first with a one-out double from Thom that brought in senior Taylor Hoagland. After senior Kim Bruins reached on an error, junior Mandy Ogle, senior Torie Schmidt, and freshman Stephanie Ceo drew three consecutive walks to force in Thom and Bruins and put UT ahead 3-0. Smith then smashed a triple through the right side, clearing the bases for a 6-0 advantage. The six-run inning marked the sixth time this season Texas has scored six or more runs in a frame.
UT made it a 7-0 edge in the second as Thom led off with her second double of the game and reached third on a Bruins foul out. Freshman pinch hitter Lindsey Stephens recorded her second RBI of the season with a single up the middle.
The Longhorns added two more runs in the third to go ahead 9-0. Junior Brejae Washington extended her hitting streak to a career-best nine games with a two-out triple and came around to score on Thom’s RBI single to push the lead to 8-0. Following a Karina Scott walk, Stephens drove in her second run of the game with a double over the left fielder to plate Thom.
In home half of the fourth, Texas added its final four runs and took a 13-0 lead. Shireman walked, Smith recorded her second hit of the game with a single to left and sophomore Marlee Gabaldon walked to load the bases for Scott. A wild pitch brought in Shireman to make it a 10-0 UT edge. Thom then became the third player in Texas history with her third double of the game, delivering two more runs to make it 12-0. Scott singled and three batters later came home on Ceo’s RBI single up the middle to cap the scoring.
Utah State (0-13) scored its two runs in the top of the fifth. The Aggies recorded back-to-back singles by Jolene Koons and Sarah Chow to open the frame. A sacrifice bunt by Amburlyn Orazco pushed the runners over to second and third and both came around to score on a fielding error by Thom. Ceo and Thom threw out the final two batters at first to give the Longhorns the win.