UT Softball Closes the Book on A&M With a Win

A jumble of burnt-orange jerseys crowded the third baseline as gloves were strewn in every direction. With the final out, jubilant Longhorn players huddled together in celebration after defeating the Lady Aggies in a thrilling 4-3 victory Sunday evening.

In the final scheduled series between the teams, the celebration was even sweeter for the Horns, who were presented with the Lone Star Showdown trophy.

In a year of lasts between the two schools, the Longhorns’ victory completes the Lone Star Showdown series, a head-to-head competition between the Aggies and Longhorns that encompasses 25 athletic events. This was the showdown’s eighth year, and Texas’ sixth time to bring home the trophy.

This final softball series between the Longhorns and Aggies was an uphill battle from the start.

After losing 9-0 in the first of three games, in College Station, the Longhorns returned to Austin Saturday looking to rebound. The Aggies, however, weren’t intimidated by playing the 7th-ranked Longhorns on the road, and jumped out to a 6-1 lead after four innings. Then the crowd roared back, and the Longhorns’ bats woke up.

In the fifth inning of Saturday’s game, the Longhorns turned it around with four runs, including a two-run home run by senior right fielder Taylor Hoagland to cut the lead to 6-5.

In the bottom of the seventh, junior outfielder Taylor Schmidt smacked a walk-off double to seal the 7-6 victory for the Horns in dramatic fashion and swing all momentum back into Texas’ corner. Texas carried that momentum into Sunday’s game.

After giving up an early home run, the Longhorns quickly found themselves in a 1-0 hole.

Sophomore pitcher Rachel Fox, who had a shaky start to the day, relied on a solid defensive effort to get out of two bases-loaded jams in the early innings. The Longhorns prevented any more runs from scoring, though, and then Texas unleashed Hoagland.

With one runner on, Hoagland crushed a deep two-run homer to give Texas the lead, 2-1. She’d add another home run later for good measure, upping her total for the year to 14. Last year, she set a school record with 15 home runs in one season.

“I’m on the climb,” Hoagland said.

Head coach Connie Clark agreed. “Taylor Hoagland is amazing,” she said. “I’m very proud of her. She had a great series.”

While the victory was icing on the cake, it was announced before the game that Texas had already claimed the Lone Star Showdown trophy after the women’s golf team finished higher than the Aggies at the Big 12 tournament.

Additionally, as the softball team warmed up, the men’s baseball team wrapped up their series with the Aggies next door with an equally thrilling rally in the ninth to walk off with a 2-1 victory. The Texas men lost the series, 2-1, but on Sunday at least, it was a clean sweep against the Aggies.

For those counting at home, the victories Sunday mean that the final scheduled game between the two teams in baseball, basketball (men’s and women’s), softball, and football this season have resulted in a Longhorn victory. For Longhorn fans, there’s been no better way to say goodbye to A&M.

Photo courtesy UT Athletics


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