It’s cliché to think that one play can decide a game. But on Friday night, that’s exactly what happened.
In the bottom of the sixth inning against Tech Texas, Texas had men on second and third base. Down 3-2 with two outs, junior Ryan Reynolds stepped up to the plate. Reynolds put a swing on one and sent a sharp ground ball directly to TTU third baseman Josh Jung. The ball hit off of the top of Jung’s open glove, then bounced off his foot and ricocheted down the wall on the third base side.
Both Texas’ runners would come score on the error and give Texas the lead. Reynolds found his way to second base. The 4-3 score would stand for another three innings and end up as the final score of the ball game.
“Josh Jung is one of the best fielders in the country,” head coach David Pierce said. “It was unfortunate for them and very fortunate for us.”
Texas starting pitcher Bryce Elder had another consistent performance. The Texas ace went for five innings and allowed three runs on seven hits. All three runs against Elder came in the third inning, the only inning TTU would score in on Friday night.
Freshman Ty Madden would come in for relief of Elder. He would go for one inning and allow no runs or hits and strike out one. Pierce said that the plan was to give him the long relief role, but after Texas took the lead, he wanted to seal the deal with another young arm.
The man he had in mind would be sophomore Kamron Fields, who had arguably the best appearance of his career. Fields found favor with both his fastball, which sat in the mid-90s for the majority of the game, and his off speed pitches, which he placed on the corners of the strike zone with ease.
Fields’ three innings of work featured no hits or runs. Fields would also strike out five of the nine batters he faced, including striking out the side in the ninth inning to close things out for Texas.
“Kam was ridiculous today,” redshirt sophomore Zach Zubia said. “He was outstanding. And he went out there and said, ‘I’m just going to give you my best stuff.’ He gave us a very gutsy performance today.”
The Garland native is the only player for Texas that has gone both ways this year. A pitcher first, at least in appearances, Fields also plays outfield for Texas where has a chance to show off his arm. And though his defense is solid, his bat has some work to do. Fields is a career .100 hitter without an RBI to his name, but is focused on improving both on the mound and off of it.
“The field is always really important to me,” Fields said. “Especially right now in the closer position I have no reason to give it up. I love it and I can always help the team out in that way whenever I’m needed.”
Offensively, Texas didn’t quite put on the show it did Tuesday night against Texas Southern, where the team scored 18 runs on 18 hits. Throughout the eight innings of at-bats, the Longhorns only mustered five hits and two RBI.
Each RBI came off a sacrifice fly. Zubia tallied one of those with a ball hit to deep right and senior Tate Shaw had the other with a sky scraper to center.
Texas will hope to duplicate its Friday night success on Saturday as they take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the second game of the three-game series at The Disch. First pitch is set for 2:30 P.M.
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