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Texas vs. Utah - 2020 Puerto Vallarta College Challenge
Feb 14, 2020
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico – On Friday afternoon at the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge, it was perhaps a Valentine's Day wish come true for No. 6 Texas softball (8-0) as the Longhorns used a stirring three-run bottom of the seventh to rally past previously unbeaten Utah (6-1), 3-2.
Keying the seventh-inning comeback, senior shortstop Kaitlyn Slack and redshirt senior left fielder Reagan Hathaway started off the outburst with back-to-back HR's. Sophomore catcher Colleen Sullivan later finished off the rally with a walk-off double to the wall in center.
- Hathaway has now been a part of consecutive HR's four different times in her Texas career. She pulled the feat twice back in 2016 and once more in 2018 before Friday's occurrence with Slack.
- Friday marked just the third time Texas has trailed at any point of a game all season long and the first time the Horns have been behind at all after the first inning.
- Texas is 8-0 overall for the first time since opening the 2016 campaign at 12-0.
- Slack's crucial lead-off seventh-inning HR was just the second of her four-year career at Texas.
- Texas has scored three runs in at least one inning of every game in 2020.
Hathaway (1-for-4, run, HR, RBI); Slack (1-for-2, run, HR, RBI); junior second baseman Janae Jefferson (2-for-3, run, double); Sullivan (2-for-3, walk-off double, RBI); senior first baseman Kaitlyn Washington (2-for-2, walk)
In the Circle
Junior right hander Ariana Adams (2-0) earned the victory in relief, walking one in 1.1 hitless frames of work. Sophomore Shea O'Leary got the start and allowed two unearned runs on four hits with three walks and a strikeout over 5.2 innings.
For Texas, it was about missed early offensive opportunities against the Utes as the Longhorns managed to load the bases in the bottom of the first on two walks and a Sullivan single. Unfortunately, a flyout to center-left the trio stranded on the base paths.
UT missed another big chance to grab an early lead in the bottom of the second. After a Washington lead-off single, Texas sacrificed the runner into scoring position. Redshirt junior pinch hitter Taylor Ellsworth stepped to the plate and drove a fly ball to left that was tracked down for the second out. Utah's Haley Denning noticed Washington straying too far off second and doubled her off for a huge double play.
That seemed to give Utah confidence as the Utes allowed Texas base runners from the third to the sixth frames, but the Longhorns couldn't string enough together against starter Halle Morris for a breakthrough.
Meanwhile, Utah turned a leadoff double in the fourth and a hit batter to open the fifth into a pair of unearned runs courtesy of several UT defensive miscues to grab a 2-0 advantage.
Down to their final three outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Longhorns showed it's never over until it's over. Slack opened the frame by driving a solo shot to center to cut it to 2-1. Utah went to the bullpen to summon in reliever Sydney Sandez, but it didn't pay off as Hathaway greeted the new hurler with a blast to right to tie the score at two. From there, a perfect Jefferson bunt single, a Shannon Rhodes sac bunt and Sullivan's walk-off double to center finished off Texas' thrilling, 3-2 win.