Texas baseball opened conference play with a victory over Kansas, 14-4, on an emotional night at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. The Longhorns offense pounded out 16 hits and scored in 6 different innings, receiving big night from Zach Zubia and Ryan Reynolds, who combined for 7 hits and 5 RBI’s.
Starting pitcher Nolan Kingham went the distance for Texas and was credited with his 3rd win of the season, allowing 4 runs on 10 hits while striking out 3. Kansas start Tyler Davis was tagged with the loss after allowing 8 runs (5 earned) on 10 hits in 3 ⅓ innings. After the game, David Pierce talked about the importance of Kingham’s performance and the ability to rest the bullpen.
“We needed a great pitching performance to protect our bullpen from the previous week and Nolan did a great job of pounding the strike zone,” Pierce said. “They hit him around a little bit, but he didn’t walk anyone and gave us an opportunity to rest those guys”
Texas opened the scoring in the bottom of the first after getting a pair of 1 out baserunners via a walk and error. Zach Zubia then drove home the first run of the game with a RBI single to left field. Ryan Reynolds delivered a RBI single of his own 2 batters later, staking Texas to a 2-0 lead.
In the 3rd, Ryan Reynolds came through his second RBI single of the night, driving home Kody Clemens and extending the Texas lead to 3-0.
After Kansas cut the lead to 3-2 in the 4th with a 2 run home run by James Consentino, the Longhorns exploded for 5 runs in the bottom half of the frame. Two singles by Tate Shaw and Masen Hibbeler put runners on the corners with 1 out. Shaw would eventually score on a wild pitch, and Duke Ellis delivered a RBI single that plated Hibbeler. Kody Clemens then drove home Ellis with a RBI triple to center field, and would score the next batter on a RBI single by Zubia. Following a pitching change, Reynolds and DJ Petrinsky worked back-to-back 2 out walks. Reynolds would eventually score the final run of the inning after 2 passed balls, giving the Longhorns a 8-2 lead.
The Jayhawks cut the deficit to 8-3 in the 6th on a solo home run by Rudy Karre, but Texas would again respond for 2 runs in the bottom half of the inning. Austin Todd collected a 1 out single, promptly stole 2nd and then scored after 2 wild pitches. After a Petrinsky walk, Shaw ripped a RBI triple to the wall in right field, stretching the Texas lead to 10-3.
In the 7th, Kansas added a run on a RBI single by Owen Taylor. The Longhorns offense responded once again with 2 runs of their own. Ellis lead off the fame with a walk and advanced to 3rd on a single by Zubia. Ellis would eventually score on a wild pitch, and David Hamilton would score as a pinch runner for Zubia on a RBI single by Reynolds, increasing the Texas lead to 12-4.
The Longhorns scored their final 2 runs in the 8th on RBI singles from Andy McGuire and Todd, giving Texas the final margin of 14-4.
Following the game, senior Jake McKenzie spoke about the mentality of the team moving forward into the rest of conference play.
“It’s basically opening day today,” McKenzie said following the win. “We have the of the season in front of us, all of conference play, so we aren’t worried about 9-9 right now. We are just worried about winning some conference games”
McKenzie also added that the team knew they wanted to win this game for legendary coach Augie Garrido, who passed away Thursday morning at the age of 79.
“He was on our minds for sure. I think all of us have him on our mind. We know how great he is, he’s a legend and he taught a bunch of us a lot of things, so it was cool to win one for him.”
The Longhorns and Jayhawks will return to action tomorrow at 1 PM for game 2 of the series. RHP Blair Henley is set to receive the start for Texas. Follow along at HornSports.com for live updates.
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