Texan pitcher Estelle Czech flirts with no-hitter, Longhorns go 4-1 in South Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (KXAN) — The Texas softball team finished the South Florida Showdown with a 4-1 record and if not for some bad luck against the hosts, it would have been a weekend Perfect.

A home run by South Florida shortstop Kathy Garcia lifted the Bulls to a 4-3 win in the Longhorns’ second game Friday at the tournament. After that, the Longhorns went on a three-game hitting streak, including a Sunday buyout game against the Bulls.

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In the tournament final against South Florida, Texas earned a 6-1 victory thanks to a great pitching performance by Estelle Czech. She went the distance and led a no-hitter in the seventh inning before allowing a run on a pair of hits. She struck out five and walked one on 84 pitches facing 24 batters.

Longhorns coach Mike White said the Czech “was in control all day.”

“I thought (Estelle) was just barely able to spot the ball, which was really cool,” said White. “You want to work on the outside corner and then get them in with some jams and use the reduced speed when you have to.”

The Czech, who was tagged with the loss after allowing the game-winning homer against the Bulls on Friday, said Sunday was about remaining free.

“I really just wanted to stay calm and relaxed today – that was a big key for me – and be able to spin the ball loosely and not tightly,” he said. “If I start trying to be tight, I start forcing the ball and that doesn’t end well.”

Freshman lead hitter Leighann Goode hit his fourth four-hit game in his young career as a Longhorn on Sunday. He hit a pair of doubles to go with two singles. For the season, he is hitting .416 with 11 doubles and five home runs.

Texas dominated Marist 9-1 in five innings to start the tournament on Friday before a 4-3 loss to South Florida. Bella Dayton hit a rare inside-the-park grand slam against the Red Foxes as part of a 5-run second inning.

The Longhorns had a perfect Saturday with a 7-0 victory over Lehigh and a 5-1 victory over Iowa. Reese Atwood homered against the Hawkeyes, a 2-run shot in the sixth inning. He also hit a home run against the Bulls on Sunday.

#9 Texas (26-5-1) went home against Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday, so the Longhorns kick off their Big 12 Conference game against Texas Tech for a three-game series starting Friday at McCombs Field.

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