No. 5 Texas sweeps No. 11 Nebraska
Hooks steals home in eighth to provide winning margin for Longhorns
LINCOLN, Neb. - Fifth-ranked Texas battled from behind to tie the score in the seventh and eventually toppled No. 11 Nebraska, 4-3 on senior catcher Amy Hooks' steal of home in the eighth inning. The victory extended the Longhorns' winning streak to 18 games and improved their record to 34-3 on the season and 7-0 in Big 12 play, while the Huskers fell to 30-6 overall and 3-3 in league action.
In the Texas eighth, the Horns got things rolling with a leadoff double to the left field corner by Hooks. Junior third baseman Nadia Taylor drew a walk to put two on and freshman designated player Mandy Ogle was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Senior second baseman Raygan Feight botched the one-out squeeze attempt with Hooks racing home, but heads up base running allowed her to steal home and give the Horns a 4-3 lead. Sophomore righthander Blaire Luna came out firing in the eighth, retiring the side in order to seal the victory.
Luna (20-2) notched the victory after tossing 5.2 innings of two-hit scoreless relief. She walked four and fanned seven after spelling freshman Rachel Fox who allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits in 2.1 innings of work. Nebraska starter Ashley Hagemann (22-5) took the loss after surrendering four runs on eight hits, walking four and striking out eight in 8.0 innings.
Trailing by two runs in the top of the seventh inning, Ogle led off the frame with a single through the middle. The next two batters were retired in order to bring sophomore rightfielder Taylor Hoagland to the plate. Hoagland promptly belted a 1-0 pitch to left centerfield to even the game at three as the game moved to the bottom of the seventh.
In the third, Nebraska broke the scoreless tie when catcher Taylor Edwards and rightfielder Brooke Thomason ripped back-to-back homers to give the Huskers a 2-0 edge. Julie Brechtel followed with a double and Fox was chased from the game and was replaced by Luna. A Texas error on a hard hit groundball allowed Brechtel to score from second and NU ended the frame with a three-run lead.
Texas responded in the top of the fourth with one run to cut the lead to two. Back-to-back one-out singles by junior first baseman Lexy Bennett and Hooks started the rally and Taylor was hit by a pitch to load the bases. An RBI single to centerfield by sophomore leftfielder Torie Schmidt plated Bennett, but that was all the damage the Horns could muster in the inning as they stranded the bases loaded.