AUSTIN, Texas -- Junior All-America pitcher Blaire Luna pitched her second shutout of the day Sunday to lead the No. 8 Texas softball team to a 5-0 victory against Northwestern in the championship game of the NCAA Austin Regional. With the win, regional top seed and No. 6 national seed Texas (46-11) advances to next week’s NCAA Super Regional for the third time in program history and first since 2006.
The Longhorns will host No. 11 seed Oregon, champion of the NCAA Eugene Regional, next weekend in the NCAA Austin Super Regional. Game dates, times and television information will be announced later for the Austin Super Regional.
Luna (21-5) earned her second victory of the afternoon in the circle for the Longhorns, allowing six hits while striking out 14 and walking just one. Earlier in the afternoon, she tossed a two-hit shutout while striking out 15 and walking one in UT’s 5-0 victory that forced the second and decisive regional championship game.
On the day, Luna worked 14 scoreless innings and allowed eight hits while striking out 29 and walking two. In her four total appearances during the Austin Regional, she posted a 3-1 mark with a 0.81 ERA. Luna worked 26.0 innings during the regional and allowed three runs on 18 hits while striking out 52 and walking four.
Meghan Lamberth (12-13) took the loss for the Wildcats, working 4.1 innings and allowing two runs on four hits while striking out one and walking two. Amy Letourneau relieved Lamberth in the fifth and tossed the final 1.2 innings, allowing three runs on three hits while walking one.
Texas jumped on the board in the bottom of the first. After Lexy Bennett singled with one out, Nadia Taylor launched a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left field to give the Longhorns a 2-0 lead.
Texas closed out the scoring with a two-out rally that produced three runs in the sixth against reliever Amy Letourneau. With two out and no runners on base, Kim Bruins walked and advanced to second when Taylor Thom reached on an infield single. Mandy Ogle then lined a two-run double to left to score both Bruins and Thom. After Washington reached on an infield single to move Ogle to third, Ogle came home on a wild pitch from Letourneau to give Texas its fifth and final run.
Bennett went 2-for-2 with a run scored, while Taylor and Ogle each added two RBI to pace the Texas offense. Shortstop Emily Allard went 3-for-4 to lead Northwestern.