Don’t mess with Texas

The U softball team had to get past one of the best pitchers in college softball to stay alive in the NCAA Tournament Sunday morning, and it just wasn’t going to happen.

Cat Osterman allowed just one hit while striking out 18 Ute batters, helping Texas beat the Utes in the Austin Regional final, 3-0.

The Longhorns (52-7) advanced to the second round of the tournament after the victory, eliminating Utah in the process.

Osterman, a former 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist, picked up her 35th win of the season, and she became the nation’s leader in strikeouts per game, while lowering her ERA to 0.39.

“She was phenomenal,” Utah interim head coach Kyle Magnusson said. “She has all three pitches, and they all move. She’s amazing.”

She had a no-hitter going after striking out the first 14 batters she faced until Ute freshman Staci Hemingway ripped a two-out single into left field, breaking up Osterman’s perfect day.

The Longhorns picked up their runs in the second and third innings, including two RBI doubles in each of those innings by Amber Hall.

Meghan Dyer suffered the loss for the Utes, surrendering seven hits for three earned runs over six innings of work.

“The team is bummed with the loss,” Magnusson said. “But we just got beat. It’s not like we’re the first team (Osterman) has done this to.”

The Utes began the double elimination tournament on Friday with a loss to Indiana, 3-0.

The Hoosiers put their ace pitcher in the circle, Mariangee Bogado, and she handled the Utes much like Osterman.

After blanking the Utes for the first five innings, Bogado allowed just one hit in the sixth to Ute freshman Meghan Crouse, leading her team to the win.

The Utes didn’t waste any time bouncing back in their second game of the first round against Texas-San Antonio, however.

Trailing 2-0 in the sixth, the Utes tied the game with an RBI double off the bat of Sharee Fonoti followed by an RBI single by Hemingway.

Dyer silenced the Roadrunner bats in the seventh inning, and the Ute offense took care of the job in the bottom of the inning, as Jackie Wong hit a sacrifice fly following a Crouse triple, keeping the Utes’ postseason hopes alive.

The Utes got another shot at Indiana following the UTSA game, and this time they got the best of the Hoosiers.

After trailing 1-0 after the fifth inning, the Utes pounded out five runs in the sixth, headlined by singles from Divina Quintero, Ivette Hernandez, Fonoti and Wong.

Dyer closed out the Hoosiers in the seventh inning, finishing the game with 10 strikeouts while scattering four hits without an earned run over the seven innings of competition.

The victory placed Utah into their match up with Texas, and a chance to move on in the tournament.

The Utes finished the season with a 40-21 overall record.

The Associated Press

Texas superstar Cat Osterman struck out 18 Utes in a 3-0 victory Sunday to eliminate Utah from NCAA Tournament competition