The Longhorns’ newcomers were on display tonight in the win against UTSA.
Redshirt sophomore right-hander Cole Quintanilla made his first career start, different from his customary relief duties. Quintanilla struggled early on, throwing 7 balls out of his first 11 pitches. After allowing a run to score on a fielder’s choice, he settled down and escaped the first inning with only one run against him. The next three innings went much more smoothly for Quintanilla, as he accumulated 5 strikeouts.
Tristan Stevens relieved Quintanilla and pitched the fifth and sixth innings and achieving his second win of the season in the process. Stevens was extremely efficient and strong for the Longhorns, finishing his two innings of work with 1 strikeout and 1 hit allowed (19 pitches total).
The California freshman left-hander Pete Hansen came in for the three-inning save, which he managed well. In his three scoreless innings of work he finished with 4 strikeouts, zero walks, and only 3 hits allowed. The off-speed command was also impressive, adding dynamism to the left-handed pitching staff for Texas moving forward.
The new faces ran the offense this evening, as Trey Faltine, Silas Ardoin and Cam Williams drove in 5 of the Longhorns’ 6 runs. This trio also accounted for 4 of the Longhorns’ 5 hits on the night, coming up big in crucial scenarios. Ardoin broke the scoring open for the Longhorns in the fourth with a double to the right field fence, which drove in 2 runs. Williams continued this streak by hitting a line drive that hit off the glove of the UTSA right fielder. This drove in 2 more runs, but ended in Williams getting thrown out at third base on the play.
Zach Zubia also contributed to the scoring again, driving in a run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning. Zubia is looking good thus far, translating his preparation in the offseason to results on the field. This is a great display of early season leadership that Texas fans are hoping he continues throughout this 2020 season.
Trey Faltine and Brenden Dixon are turning out to be a lethal duo in the middle infield, making more and more plays, especially the former. Faltine made three off balance plays against the Roadrunners that you do not see from many freshmen, if not many college players. His flair and poise, skills partially his own and those taught by coach Troy Tulowitzki, have meshed really well with his playing style thus far, and should help the Longhorns’ defensively if he stays healthy.
Another infielder who is showcasing his impact defensively is Zach Zubia. His offseason preparation is benefitting him on both sides of the baseball. Since his hiccup against Rice early this weekend where he dropped a foul ball pop-up, he has been a wall at first base. Tonight he made some impressive picks with ease, making him look like a natural at the position, something Texas needed coming into the season.
Outfielder Austin Todd made an audacious effort to throw out a baserunner at third base in the fourth inning, part of what was already a broken play, proceeding to make it even worse. His throw soared into the top of the netting above the visitor dugout, awarding the baserunner with the extra 90-feet and a run on the scoreboard. Moving forward, minimizing the damage on already broken plays will be important for Texas.
Texas started out slow in the home opener, but after they settled down, showcased the potential of both their frequent starters and their newcomers. Moving forward, maximizing the potential of every player will be important, because as Coach Pierce said last Thursday, “Not everybody is going to start, but everybody has a role.”
Texas plays again on Wednesday evening, hosting Lamar University for a 4 PM CST start time. You can tune in to the Longhorn Network to watch the game or listen in on 104.9 FM The Horn.
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