After losing two of three to Baylor in Waco last weekend, the Longhorn Baseball team faced Texas State on Tuesday evening at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin. Texas struggled to find solid pitching against the Bears and David Pierce’s squad looked to flip the switch against the Bobcats, courtesy of RHP Blair Henley (3-3 3.99 ERA) and the Texas bullpen.
Henley showed a strong performance, shutting out the Bobcats over 5 innings, getting 3 strikeouts on 73 pitches. The Texas bullpen finished up Henley’s work with Connor Mayes, Chase Shugart, Tyler Schimpf, and Beau Ridgeway each pitching an inning each, shutting out Texas State and only allowing 2 hits.
This is only Texas State’s 2nd time being shut out this year and is Texas’ 6th shutout on the season.
Despite the wonderful numbers, the Longhorns real success was finding their way out of two bases loaded, no out jams without surrendering a run. Pierce praised his pitching staff and gave them credit for finding their way out of the jams, “What I liked seeing about that is I thought we elevated out pitches and continued to make quality pitches against them… We made very quality pitches to have the opportunity to get out of it.”
When I asked David Pierce what was the difference between the bullpen this game and last weekend he simply replied, “There was really nothing different. We were at home. They hit two fly balls in the 9th, and we ran them down.”
The Texas State Bobcat pitching staff also pitched well despite the loss, allowing 2 earned runs and forcing Texas to hit into 15 ground outs and stranding 11 base runners.
However, Texas State couldn’t stop Freshman Ryan Reynolds (3-4 RBI, 2B x2), who went on a bit of a hot streak late March into mid-April, but slowed down on his trip to Baylor. Looks like Reynolds is back on track and all it took was some cage time with Coach Pierce according to him. “After a slow weekend, I got with the coaches, and Coach Pierce came up and told me not to swing as hard as I can. He actually came into the cages with us to show us how to do it. Just take 75-80% on our swings and not try to muscle it. Just let it happen.” Ryan Reynolds is now hitting .291 with 10 RBIs and 3 HRs, since March 22nd. Without the Baylor series he hitting .356 with 10 RBIs and 3 HRs.
The other RBI came from Kody Clemens (1-4 RBI) on a base hit right up the middle to score Zane Gurwitz (1-3) in the bottom of the 3rd. Kody is now sitting pretty with 16 RBIs over 27 games.
With their 25th win of the season, Texas has now matched their win total from the 2016 season with 15 games left in the regular season.
The Longhorns will take on the University of New Orleans this Friday at 7:00 PM CST.
Some of the fans with eagle eyes may have noticed a cut right next to the eye of Ryan Reynolds. When I asked him what happened, this is what the freshman from Monroe, Louisiana had to say:
“Me and David [Hamilton] go out before the game to hit in the outside cages. Walk in there and there is a bird flying around. We figure, alright, we’ll go get it, let it go. Sucker is hard to catch. Ran for five minutes trying to catch him. There is two divider nets, and I didn’t see, but they were zip-tied together. I was running after the bird, and the next thing I know I was looking straight up at the sun. I feel something kind of running down [my cheek]. It’s blood. I got clotheslined by the net. David was laughing, and of course, everyone came out and was laughing.”
(So you didn’t catch the bird?)
“Nope. Austin Todd came and got the bird in 2 seconds.”