- Carter Strickland, Reporter, HornsNation
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AUSTIN, Texas -- Blaire Luna didn’t bother to pat herself on the back after pitching back-to-back shutout games in the span of four hours Sunday and securing Texas’ NCAA Super Regional berth.
That’s probably because she could no longer feel her arm. That’s what 249 pitches in one day will do.
“It was really sore Monday,” the junior said.
Four days later, her arm is no longer hurting and neither is her confidence, both of which are good things for sixth-seeded Texas (46-11) because Luna will take to the circle against No. 11 seed Oregon (42-15) Friday at McCombs Field for the right to advance to the Women’s College Softball World Series.
“I’m glad everything is coming together when it counts,” Luna said.
This coming together follows a season when things fell apart for Luna at least by her measure. The staff ace admittedly did not have her best season. She was still 21-5 with a 2.14 era. But last season she had a 1.27 era. The season before that is was 1.39.
“I didn’t feel like she lost her ‘It’ factor completely,” coach Connie Clark said.
But, then again, she knew Luna was not where she had been or where she could be.
“My confidence fluctuated up and down,” Luna said.
So too have the Longhorns, losing three of their last five before going on a tear and winning five straight by a 26-2 margin in advance of the Super Regionals.
“I have been telling here for the last month that it was gong to be there and it was going to come,” Clark said of Luna’s confidence.
It just took a big moment, the biggest of the season, for it to arrive.
“Her coming through (in the regional) was huge for her mentally and for the team,” senior Lexy Bennett said. “We’re trying to keep her pumped up and going right at batters. If she does that I don’t think a team could beat her.”