Texas baseball accomplished something no other team has done this season: win a series in Lubbock. The Longhorns picked up what was perhaps the biggest win of the season with a 7-5 victory over 9th ranked Texas Tech on Sunday, clinching the series win over the Red Raiders. As has become a theme this season, the Texas bats rallied in the late innings to overcome a 4-3 deficit, getting big home runs from Kody Clemens and Zach Zubia. Let’s take a look at some thoughts and takeaways from a series victory that likely keeps the Longhorns hopes of hosting a regional alive:
Pitcher of the Weekend- Parker Joe Robinson
On Wednesday, David Pierce mentioned the windy conditions in Lubbock were dangerous for fly-ball pitchers, which meant ground ball pitchers like Robinson would would be one of the top options out of the bullpen. The side-arming junior responded with 4 ⅓ innings of scoreless relief in 2 appearances.
Robinson entered in relief of Nolan Kingham on Friday and tossed 1 ⅔ scoreless innings to help bridge the gap to closer Andy McGuire.
His second appearance came in a key situation on Sunday, with the bases loaded and nobody out with the game tied at 3 in the 6th. Robinson ended up holding the Red Raiders to a single run, allowing a sacrifice fly before getting a strikeout and a flyout to prevent further damage. After a scoreless 7th and recording 2 outs in the 8th, Robinson handed the ball to Josh Sawyer, who collected a strikeout to strand the inherited runner.
Hitter of the Weekend: Kody Clemens
It should come as no surprise that Kody Clemens was at the forefront of the Longhorns offensive attack this weekend. The junior went 4 for 5 during Friday’s 12-6 victory, connecting on 2 home runs and driving in 3. On Sunday, Clemens hit an opposite field game tying home run in the 7th. Overall, he finished the weekend 7 for 13 with 3 home runs, 5 RBI’s and 5 runs.
Stat of the Weekend- 24
The Texas offense put 24 runs in the 3 game series, which ties the most runs Tech has allowed in a series this year. Longhorns hitters did a good job fall weekend of attacking Red Raider pitching, pounding out 33 hits in 27 innings.
As mentioned above, Texas needed a series victory over the Red Raiders if they wanted to keep their chances of hosting a regional alive. The win on Sunday pushes Texas’ record to 33-18, with a 14-7 mark in Big 12 play. The Longhorns have 4 games remaining, a midweek game against Texas State and a 3 game series at home against TCU. A 3-1 finish and a couple wins in the Big 12 tournament would give the committee a lot of think about in terms of there being an Austin Regional.
Random Notes and Thoughts
- David Pierce said earlier in the week that the plan was to narrow down the pitching staff to about 8 guys he trusted putting out there on the mound. In addition to 3 starting pitchers, Bryce Elder, Josh Sawyer, Parker Joe Robinson, Andy McGuire and Matt Whelan appear to be the relief pitchers Pierce has the most trust in, at the moment.
- Duke Ellis continued his hot streak at the plate, collecting 5 hits and swiping 4 bags over 3 games. It is no coincidence that the offense has taken a big forward with the emergence of Ellis at the top of the lineup.
- Texas will now have a 9-day break without a game, which will allow the players to focus on final exams. The break will come at a good time, especially for pitchers. Pierce said after Tuesday’s win against Texas State that some of his primary bullpen arms needed some rest, and it is understandable considering how often some key members of the bullpen are throwing. He was not shy about saying he planned on riding his starters deep into games, which was supported by the fact Nolan Kingham threw 127 pitches on Friday night.
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