Freshman left-hander Osterman tied a UT freshman record for strikeouts in her collegiate debut for the Longhorns in game one, equaling Charla Moore's 1998 mark of 11 strikeouts against Indiana State (March 7). Osterman struck out five batters in a row at one point and finished with 11 strikeouts and two hits in six innings to pick up her first win of the 2002 season. Freshman right-hander Amy Bradford (Lufkin, Texas / Lufkin) entered in the seventh, striking out two of the three batters she faced to earn a save. The Longhorns' pitcher kept the Islanders to just three hits in game one.
"Cat definitely got stronger as the game went on," said head coach Connie Clark. "She worked with Marlo (Hanks) to call pitches and mixed in more speeds later in the game. She was a bit tentative in the beginning, but settled in and utilized the off-speed pitches."
Game one was scoreless through the first three and a half innings before the Longhorns posted a run in the bottom of the fourth. Sophomore outfielder Wieszczak led off the inning with a base hit to rightfield. Junior catcher Marlo Hanks (Kingwood, Texas / Kingwood) reached on a fielder's choice, advancing Wieszczak to second base. Two wild pitches by the Islanders pitcher advanced the runners, eventually scoring Wieszczak. Wieszczak and Gardner went 2-for-3 in game one with a run scored.
In the top of fifth, the Longhorns got things started with a lead-off double down the leftfield line by Gardner. She advanced to third on a groundout by freshman shortstop Erin Mahoney (Los Angeles, Calif. / Notre Dame Academy). Poppe walked and advanced to second on the same play, putting runners on second and third for Texas. Senior outfielder Deeanna Williams (Irving, Texas / Nimitz) singled to center to score Gardner and Poppe, making the score 3-0.
In the nightcap, the Longhorns jumped to a quick five-run lead, recording three runs in the bottom of the second and two runs in the third. Six Texas singles and two bases on balls over those two innings provided the Longhorns with the sizable early advantage. The Islanders didn't back down as they scored four runs in the top of the fourth behind a three-run homer by Eden Goss. Texas answered in the bottom half, scoring two runs with two outs. After back-to-back outs to start the inning, Poppe singled to left and stole second on the next pitch. Williams followed with an RBI single to center, scoring Poppe, and advanced to second on the throw home. Wieszczak came to the plate next and singled to center, scoring Williams to extend the Texas lead to 7-4. Hanks ended with inning with a strikeout.
Wieszczak was 2-for-2 in the second game with two runs scored and an RBI.
Sophomore Natalie King (Fountain Valley, Calif. / Fountain Valley) received a no decision as she went three and two-thirds innings, giving up four earned runs while walking two batters and striking out two Islanders. Bradford entered in relief in the fourth inning and finished the game to pick up her first victory. Bradford shut down the Islanders, only allowing one hit in her three and one-third innings of work.
"It was good to get two wins under our belt before heading out West," said Clark. "The hitters looked good and made good adjustments as the games went on. The wins give us some confidence heading into the weekend. Amy (Bradford) did a nice job and got herself out of some jams."
The Longhorns travel to Phoenix, Ariz., on Friday-Sunday, Feb. 8-10 to compete in the Fiesta Bowl Tournament. On Friday, Texas faces No. 1 Arizona at 2:30 p.m. and No. 24 Massachusetts at 4:30 p.m. The Longhorns play No. 2 UCLA at noon and No. 5 California at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday before concluding the tournament against No. 10 Cal State Fullerton at 1 p.m. on Sunday. All times listed are Central.