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No. 13-seed Texas advances out of Austin Regional

For the school-record third straight season, the Longhorns are headed to the Super Regionals.

Texas softball

And it’s goodbye to A&M.

The No. 13-seed Texas Longhorns advanced undefeated out of the Austin Regional on Sunday with a resounding 11-5 win over the Texas A&M Aggies at McCombs Field, the third straight season the Longhorns have advanced out of the regional round under fifth-year head coach Mike White, a school record.

Friday’s opener against Seton Hall was an 8-0 Texas win in five innings as Mac Morgan and Estelle Czech combined to throw a no-hitter, the first of its kind in school history and the first postseason no-hitter for the Longhorns since Blair Luna in 2013 to send Texas past Florida State and into the Women’s College World Series.

“We fortunately were able to get off to a pretty good start with two runs in the first inning and were able to continue the scoring from there,” White said. “Combining some really good pitching by Mac Morgan and some outstanding hitting by Vivi Martinez, it was a good start for us. You know, we just didn’t get them a chance to settle in. We know that good teams like Seton Hall always have an opportunity to get back in the game and make anything happen, so we just were cognizant of that and didn’t want that to happen.”

Saturday’s game against Texas A&M was a pitcher’s duel between Citlaly Gutierrez and Sophia Simpson and Madison Preston and Emiley Kennedy with Gutierrez and Simpson emerging with the edge in a narrow 2-1 victory for Texas. Scoring two runs, one earned, on a fielder’s choice in the third inning was enough for the Longhorns to advance to the regional final despite only recording four hits.

White wanted Texas to get off to a faster start on Sunday and the team responded with four runs in the first inning highlighted by a two-run double by designated player Courtney Day. Two more runs in the second and four in the fifth put the game out of reach for Texas A&M, which could only manage the pyrrhic victory of a three-run home run in the fifth inning.

“First off, what a great performance by our team,” White said. “Obviously, we knew that (Texas) A&M was going to bring it today. We knew they’d be a tough, tough opponent. They had plenty of pitching to throw at us. Fortunately, we were able to get off to a great start, and then we were able to escape some jams throughout the game with our pitching.

“We had an opportunity to end the game early, but that was certainly a well-deserved home run: that ball went a long way. But (I’m) really proud of my team and the way they kept fighting today. Obviously, Courtney Day had a day — no pun intended — getting five RBIs and really setting up the tone. I’m glad I moved her up to four. The players can make you look good and bad at times. Today, they made me look good. But again, A&M, they fought hard and it’s going to be an interesting series once we move to the SEC in a couple of years.”

Texas now travels to Knoxville for the Super Regional against No. 4-seed Tennessee with first pitch on Friday at 3 p.m. Central on ESPN2.