After 7 straight hours of baseball, Texas takes the double header to the tune of 5-4 and 6-1. They redeemed an anemic offensive performance in the first game and notched head coach David Pierce his first AND second wins as the Longhorns’ skipper.
The pitching performances by Kyle Johnston and Blair Henley were phenomenal, as Rice was only able to put up 1 run a piece against them both.
Texas 5, Rice 4
In the first game Johnston threw 93 pitches (63 strikes) over 6 innings where he managed 6Ks, 1BB on 7 hits, but only gave up 1 run in the first inning. Johnston got some help from his offense with patient at bats and the Rice pitching staff helping the Longhorns out. Three of the Longhorns’ runs came from walks or hitting the batter with bases loaded. David Hamilton’s single in the 6th inning gave the Longhorns three runs and a 5-1 lead going into the final inning of the first game.
Chase Shugart came in to relieve Johnston, but had a little trouble of his own. After facing 7 batters in 2/3 innings and throwing 26 pitches (13 strikes) he had made the game interesting again by letting Rice crawl back with 3 runs.
Oâ€™Hara came into take the game from Shugartâ€™s hands with a man on 1st and 2nd and two outs. Riceâ€™s Gneiting singled to left field off of Oâ€™Hara and over the glove of a leaping Sosa Andres. Wunderlick, the man on 2nd, crossed 3rd and tried his luck rounding for home to tie the game. Travis Jones picked up the ball and threw it home. Out. Ball game.
â€œIt felt pretty good out of the handâ€¦ I saw where [Wunderlick] wasâ€¦ I knew I got him,â€ said Travis Jones after the game.
And he got him for sure, beating Wunderlick to the plate and sealing the 5-4 win for Coach Pierce, his first. One down, one to go.
Texas 6, Rice 1
The second game started off a little shaky for Texas as they trotted out true freshman Blair Henley for his first action on the mound as a Longhorn. Henley started off with a 20-pitch inning and getting out of a bases loaded, no outs jam while only giving up one run. And it would be the only run for Rice in the game.
Henley agreed that the first inning could have gone better, â€œYeah the first inning was roughâ€¦ I was pretty jittery, but I settled down threw how I usually do.â€ And Blair settled down, the Owls paid for it. He used all four of his pitches (fastball, curve-ball, slider, and change-up) and it baffled Riceâ€™s bats. Henley ended up throwing 80 pitches over 5 innings tallying 8 strikeouts (4 of them buckling Rice batterâ€™s knees) and only letting up that 1 run.
Rice also trotted out a true freshman in Matt Canterino, but his rough times didnâ€™t just stick to the first inning. He was only able to get through 3 innings, throwing 84 pitches and gaving up 4 runs. And it didnâ€™t just end with Canterino. Each of Riceâ€™s subsequent pitchers threw over 50 pitches and struggled mightily.
Kacy Clemens ate up the poor pitching by Rice. In game 2 he went 3-3 with a home run over the left field fence and had 2 RBIs. Over the span of both games Kacy went 4-5.
Another guy who had a good day was Michael McCann. McCann who had a nice game at the plate in game 2, going 1- 2 with an RBI.
The other catcher, Michael Cantu, has struggled so far in this series. Cantu has gone 1 -4 so far consisting of some less than stellar at bats.
Overall the Longhorns’ approach to the plate was very calm. Each player worked counts and the team had over 20 at bats go to 3 balls or more in the two games. However, theyâ€™re still stranding base runners – there were 16 over the two games (not as bad as Rice who stranded 19).
The youth on this team has done very well. Guys like David Hamilton, Blair Henley, Austin Todd, Ryan Reynolds, and Nolan Kingham have stepped up early and are helping the Longhorns start the season solid.
The Longhorns and Owls will play again on Sunday at noon.
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