One of No. 14 Texas’ key pieces to its 2018 College World Series run, redshirt sophomore designated hitter Zach Zubia, may finally be figuring getting back to his previous form.
The slugger led Texas to a 10-2 victory over Kansas State on Saturday afternoon with two hits and six RBI. The crushing blow came early as Zubia hit a grand slam to put an exclamation point on a seven-run second inning that put the game heavily in Texas’ favor.
Zubia is the Longhorns’ everyday clean-up hitter, but for the majority of the year has struggled to show off the power he’s shown before. Coming into Saturday’s game, Zubia had only three home runs. His current batting average is down nearly 30 points compared to 2018 and his slugging percentage is nearly 80.
For Texas to match its pull potential, Zubia will need to use Saturday as a launching pad to match his 2018 production.
Starting pitcher junior Blair Henley took advantage of the early lead and coasted to one his better starts of the year. He went for seven complete innings and only allowed one earned run, while also striking out seven.
Sophomore Matt Whelan finished the game on the mound for Texas and threw two complete innings and allowed one run on one hit.
Multiple other Longhorns also tallied multi-hit games. Sophomore first baseman Sam Bertelson and senior catcher Michael McCann each had two hits and combined for three RBI.
The win was much needed after Texas dropped Friday night’s game 6-4. Kansas State came into Austin with only one Big 12 win and was the perfect candidate to get swept. But after sophomore Bryce Elder uncharacteristically struggled and allowed five earned runs, the sweep hopes were over.
With the win, Texas moves to 5-5 in the Big 12 and 23-14 overall.
The Longhorns will look to recapture a winning conference record with a victory in Sunday’s rubber match. First pitch in Game 3 against Kansas State is set for 1 P.M.
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