Hoagland’s two home runs power UT Softball past N.C. State 7-4
FULLERTON, Calif. - Senior Taylor Hoagland’s two home runs helped lift No. 9/10 Texas to a 7-4 victory over N.C. State on Saturday afternoon at the Judi Garman Classic. Hoagland turned in her sixth multiple-home run performance of her career, launching solo shots in the first and second frames.
Six of Texas’ seven runs were scored with two outs. Providing the final two runs was freshman Lindsey Stephens with a sixth-inning double. She matched her career high with two runs batted in during the contest. Senior Torie Schmidt also chipped in with her second-straight three-hit game.
Senior pitcher Blaire Luna (13-1) threw the first six innings, allowing three hits and four runs, three earned. She walked one and struck out 15, including eight-straight in the third through sixth innings. The victory was the 93rd of her career, moving her into a tie with Amanda Renfro (Texas Tech/1998-2001) for seventh on the Big 12 Conference all-time list. Sophomore Gabby Smith entered for the seventh inning and earned the first save of her career. She allowed one hit and struck out three. N.C. State’s Emily Weiman (10-12) lasted the first inning for the Wolfpack, giving up two runs on four hits and a walk. She also struck out one. Chelsea Stanfield entered for the remaining six frames and surrendered five runs on eight hits and three walks. She fanned two.
Texas (26-4) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Hoagland homered to left field on the second pitch of the contest for the initial run. After junior Brejae Washington was thrown out at the plate trying to stretch a triple into a home run, classmate Taylor Thom walked. Following a strikeout, Thom stole second and came home on a single to center field from senior Kim Bruins. Junior Karina Scott singled to left center to keep the inning alive, but a groundout ended the threat.
The Longhorns added two more runs, both with two outs, in the top of the second. Hoagland hit her second home run, this one to center field, and Washington followed with a walk. Washington stole second and scored on a Thom single up the middle. Junior Mandy Ogle singled to move Thom to third, but a groundout stranded the pair.
In the top of the third, Texas made it a 5-0 advantage with another two-out run. After a groundout, Schmidt bounced a single over the head of Stanfield and Schmidt moved to second on another groundout. Sophomore pinch hitter Marlee Gabaldon singled through the legs of Stanfield and into center to plate Schmidt for a five-run cushion.
N.C. State (11-13-1) got two runs back in the bottom of the third with a two-run home run. With two outs, Sara Lippard was hit by a pitch to become the Wolfpack’s first base runner. Renada Davis followed with a two-run home run to left to make it a 5-2 contest. Luna ended the frame with a strikeout.
Following the home run, Luna struck out the next eight batters.
In the top of the sixth, Texas scored its last two runs to take a 7-2 advantage. Gabaldon and Hoagland started the inning with consecutive walks, but were forced out at third on back-to-back fielder’s choices from Washington and Thom. Stephens delivered a two-run double to the gap in left center that scored Washington and Thom to regain the five-run lead. A fly out closed the inning.
Luna’s strikeout run was snapped at eight as Davis hit her second home run of the contest with one out in the bottom of the sixth, making it a 7-3 Texas lead. Luna struck out the next two batters, but the third strike to Chelsea Tate was a wild pitch and Tate was safe at first. Scout Albertson followed with a double to left center and Caitlin Dent walked to load the bases. A fielding error allowed Tate to score, but a groundout left the bases loaded and kept it a 7-4 Texas lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, Smith allowed a leadoff single to Leah Jones, but struck out the next two. Smith hit Kirsty Grant to bring the tying run to the plate before fanning Tate looking to end the contest.
Texas plays its second Saturday game, and final at the Judi Garman Classic, at approximately 9:30 p.m. CT against DePaul.