May 17, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas- -
Freshman third baseman Kasey McCravey went 2-for-3 at the plate, and Morgan Lashley denied No. 4 Texas (45-8) from mercying Army (35-25) as the Longhorns were forced to play seven innings in a 5-0 opening-round win at the NCAA Austin Regional Friday evening at McCombs Field.
In Army's first at bat, McCravey took a 2-2 pitch off starter Blaire Luna and belted it into left field for the Black Knights' first of three hits. She was stranded at first following a foul ball popup to the third baseman.
Texas struck quickly on Mandy Ogle's three-run home in its first at bat in taking a 3-0 lead, then added single runs in the second and third innings with sacrifice flies producing both runs.
In the bottom of the second, Gabby Smith ripped a double up the middle with one out, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Stephanie Ceo's sacrifice fly to right field. In the third inning, Lashley picked up two quick strikes on leadoff batter Brejae Washington, who then ripped a triple to left center field. She scored on Taylor Thom's sacrifice fly to center field.
That proved the last time that the Longhorns would scored against the Black Knights. Lashley shut them out in the fourth, fifth and six innings en route to denying Luna the win after she pitched the first three innings. Luna threw a one-hitter, struck out five batters and issued no walks to the 10 batters she faced.
Army collected two of its three hits off reliever Bruins in the top of the
seventh inning. McCravey led off with a single to right field and moved to second when Alex Reynolds beat out an infield hit. It was the first time Army reached scoring position in the game.
Bruins (10-0) preserved the shutout retiring the next three batters n a strikeout, infield popup and groundout. She struck out three, walked one along with yielding two hits over four innings.
It is the second time that Army met Texas in an opening round at the NCAA Regional, when the Black Knights fell 4-0 in 2002 at the Region 5 Tournament in Norman, Okla.
"We came out here with the intention of showing how aggressive we are," said Army coach Michelle DePolo. "I thought we did that. We had some jitters because of the venue and fans in the first two innings.
"Our job was to play great defense. When you look at the final box of the game, you see that it was pretty tight. Morgan (Lashley) did a good job getting the hitters off balance, and that was the key.
"Having players that have never been in this type of venue, it was expected that they would be under nerves in the first two innings. After getting over that, the team started to settle in and show what we can do. I am proud of them for that."
Army will face Houston (40-19 after bowing to South Carolina, 6-4) in the second game in the double-elimination game Saturday at 2 p.m. CT (3 p.m. ET). The game will be televised on ESPN3.com. It will be the third time the teams will be meeting with the Cougars holding a 2-0 lead. The Black Knights and Houston first met at the Crowne Plaza Classic in 2008 with the host Cougars taking two games in five innings, 9-0 and 10-1, when DePolo was an assistant at Army.
Host Texas takes on South Carolina in a winners' bracket game at 11 a.m. CT on the Longhorn Network. The loser of that game and the winner of the Army-Houston matchup play at 5 p.m. CT (6 p.m. ET).
DIAMOND NOTES: In the Army stands was former pitcher and Hall of Famer Colleen McCabe, who met Morgan Lashley (who is challenging her records) following the game ... former head coach Jim Flowers, who retired to Texas, was also there with his family to support the Black Knights ... Army is 1-5 in NCAA Regional games ... Kasey McCravey is the second Army player to have multiple hits in an NCAA Regional game ... Jen Knowlden had three hits (to include a home run) against Chattanooga in Army's 6-4 elimination loss in 2000 ... Army had just one hit the first time they played Texas in a Regional Game, bowing 4-0 in 2002.