Earlier in the season, Jake McKenzie joked with head coach David Pierce about the fact that the only position the utility player had yet in a game was catcher. McKenzie not only checked the final position off his list Tuesday, but checked off all 9 positions in the same game as the Longhorns routed UT-Rio Grande Valley in 7 innings, 13-2.
In a game that included quite a few outstanding performance, McKenzie’s performance rises above the rest. The senior started the game at catcher before rotating between each infield position in innings 2-5. In the 6th and with the run-rule possibly coming into play after 7 innings, McKenzie rotated between all 3 outfield positions during the inning. After starting the 7th inning in RF, he made his way to the mound to record the final 2 outs of the game.
So how did this idea come about?
“Really it was in the fall when I started thinking about it because I just know what he means to this program and I know what he brings to the team every single day,” Head coach David Pierce said about McKenzie. “In the early part of his career he was not a starter, and then he became a utility guy as a part time player, then this year he earned the right to start at first base. Everything he represents as a student, the honors he has received in the engineering department, and then as a great leader and a great teammate, he’s the perfect guy for it.”
Let’s take a look at some other news and notes from an eventful night at UFCU Disch-Falk Field:
- Aside from McKenzie, one of the biggest storylines was the return to the mound of redshirt freshman Tristan Stevens, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Stevens received the start and lasted 2 innings, allowing 0 runs on 2 hits. He worked an upper 80’s fastball with an effective slider.
- “He probably threw a little bit too much early in his preparation, not in the bullpen, just a lot of adrenaline going,” said Pierce. “There’s some concern about how he’s going to feel. We’ve been up to 35-40 pitches, but you push that a little bit from a bullpen to now a game, and then the anxiety and the excitement about it. Fortunately, we got out of that 2nd (inning) with bases loaded and nobody out. All we wanted to get out Tristan tonight was 2, and we got 2 under 30 pitches so that also worked out perfect. He felt great and we see how he recovers. Hopefully he can help us.”
- Before the season, Pierce predicted David Hamilton would hit 3 home runs this season after Hamilton failed to hit one as a freshman. Hamilton seems poised to make Pierce look like a genius, as he blasted his 2nd home run of the season, a 2-run home run in the 2nd inning to get Texas on the board. Hamilton later added an RBI single up the middle and smacked a triple into the RF corner with the bases loaded, scoring 3 runs and giving him 6 RBI’s on the night.
- Kody Clemens continued his memorable season by smashing a grand slam that stayed inside the RF foul pole. In the 5th, Clemens again came up with the bases loaded and smoked a 2-run single up the middle. It is hard to be much hotter than Kody Clemens is at the plate right now.
- Zach Zubia recorded a 1 for 2 night at the plate with 2 walks, extending his on-base steak to 38 games. Zubia continues to show good patience and the ability to barrel pitches that are in the strike zone.
- The Longhorns will return to action tomorrow against Texas Southern at Constellation Field in Sugarland. Kamron Fields will start on the mound for Texas.
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