Texas returned home after losing 2 out of 3 to Kansas State over the weekend. With the help of the bullpen and the power bat of Ryan Reynolds, the Longhorns responded with a 5-4 victory over McNeese State on Monday night. The win moves Texas’ record to 18-12 on the season.
Freshman Matt Whalen received his first career start on the mound and lasted 4 innings, allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits with a pair of strikeouts.
“I thought he attacked the zone really well early,” Head Coach David Pierce said after the game about his starter. “He’s got to get better with his secondary pitches, to be able to throw the slider for a strike, not just for a chase pitch. So then it becomes a valuable pitch as a chase. But his competitiveness was outstanding. He wants the ball, he’s very comfortable on the mound and I’m really proud of his efforts tonight. I would have loved for him to go through 5 and get his first win tonight.”
Following Whalen’s exit, 4 Longhorn relievers combined to allow 1 run in 5 innings of work. Parker Joe Robinson picked up his first win of the season, throwing 2 shutout innings.
Texas started the scoring in the 3rd inning with the help of the McNeese State defense. Jake McKenzie led off the frame by singling to right field. McKenzie advanced to 2nd following a Tate Shaw groundout, and moved up to 3rd after an errant pickoff attempt. Masen Hibbeler then hit a popup in shallow center field that was mishandled by second basemen Joe Provenzano, allowing McKenzie to score and giving Texas a 1-0 lead. 3 batters later, Ryan Reynolds blasted a 2-run home run over the left fence, extending the lead to 3-0.
The Longhorns added to their lead in the 4th. David Hamilton led of by doubling to right-center and advanced to 3rd when DJ Petrinsky reached on a fielder’s choice, placing runners at the corners. McKenzie drove in Hamilton with a RBI groundout, and Kody Clemens would later drive in Petrinsky when his sinking line drive to right field with the bases loaded fell in and resulted in a fielder’s choice, giving Texas a 5-0 lead.
McNeese State responded in 5th inning, however. Dustin Duhon led off with the double down the left field line. Andrew Bryan then connected on a 2-run home run, cutting the lead to 5-2. Following a walk and a single, Parker Joe Robinson entered from the bullpen. Carson Maxwell welcome Robinson with a sacrifice bunt, but Robinson’s throw to first sailed into right field, bringing home another run and making the score 5-3.
In the 7th, the Cowboys added another run on a sacrifice fly by Reid Bourque, cutting the deficit to 1 run, but would not get any closer. Josh Sawyer delivered a scoreless 8th inning for Texas and Andy McGuire locked down his 3rd save of the season with a scoreless 9th.
Texas will return to action tomorrow when they travel to Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi to take on Texas A&M Corpus-Christi. RHP Blair Henley will get the ball for Texas in what is expected to be a brief outing. Follow along at Hornsports.com for live updates