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Three Thoughts on Texas’ 9-1 Win Over Kansas in the Big 12 Softball Championship

In the final game of the second round of the Big 12 Softball Championship, Texas ended the Jayhawks’ upset hopes with a commanding 9-1 win, to earn a spot in the championship game against the Oklahoma Sooners.

With the win, Texas keeps its hopes of winning a Big 12 title alive and will get the chance to exact revenge on Oklahoma in doing so.

For Kansas, the loss effectively ends their 2023 season with a 25-27 record and leaves them as a fringe bubble team with a losing record.

Here are three thoughts on the game and what it means for each team going forward.

 

LONGHORNS OFFENSE ROLLS

The Texas Longhorns followed up their win in the first round against Texas Tech with a high-flying performance in the second round against Kansas.

In round one, the Longhorns couldn’t find a hit until the last possible moment, hitting two home runs in the seventh to steal the game from the Red Raiders. The slow start narrative for the Longhorns was nonexistent today as they scored with ease at multiple points in the ball game.

The Longhorns scored in each of the first three innings with back-to-back hits and home runs from Leighann Goode in the second inning, and Baylea Brandon in the fifth inning. The Longhorns’ offense made the difference in the game as the Jayhawks pitchers just could not get out of the circle.

 

KANSAS CAN’T CAPITALIZE

While the eye test will immediately tell you that the Longhorns had more firepower on the day, batting .529 overall compared to the Jayhawks’ .286, the biggest difference on the scoreboard is the number of runners left on base.

The Jayhawks were having solid at-bats against both Mac Morgan and Citlaly Gutierez, but ultimately could not find a hit with RISP. Kansas stranded six baserunners in the game as the Longhorns only left two which left multiple opportunities on the board.

What’s unique about the situation is that the Jayhawks weren’t batting badly with runners on base, the outs recorded just happened to be at inopportune times. Kansas batted .300 with runners on base in Friday’s matchup but just could not get it done when called on.

 

RUN RULE

I don’t know if it’s possible to script a better Big 12 Championship game. Both of the top teams in the bracket finished their second-round matchup with five-inning shutouts with scores of 9-0, and 9-1.

The Longhorns were the better team against Kansas and while it’s not for certain or anything, I think that the doubleheader aspect of Kansas’ game tired the team out. With just four and a half hours between the time they left the field following the completion of the upset against Oklahoma State, the Jayhawks’ number was called again, and they had to take the field.

While the weather may not have been a factor on day two as much as on day one, the Jayhawks suffered a tough loss against a solid team and were outmatched from the start.

Texas is now headed to the Championship Final for the first time since 2005 and will face Oklahoma there for the first time since 2003.

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