The Longhorns hosted the Lamar University Cardinals on Wednesday afternoon at Disch-Falk Field. Despite poor weather conditions the game resulted in a rich experience for Texas’ young pitchers.
While the weather was not good, the Longhorns’ starter Kolby Kubichek was, starting the game with 3 shutout innings. Kubichek had not pitched since last season, and it was great to see him on the field again. He finished his day allowing 2 hits and 2 walks, striking out 3 batters in this 51-pitch outing.
After Kubichek the Longhorns resorted to using 3 freshmen pitchers and 2 sophomores throughout the night. Owen Meaney came in to relieve Kubichek, and proceeded to impress in the proceeding 3 innings. Meaney put together a flawless outing, throwing 42 pitches and allowing 0 hits, 0 walks and striking out 3.
Meaney then made way for Freshman Will Swope, who had more of a learning experience during his first outing in burnt orange. Swope started strong forcing a fly-out, but could not get rhythm after this. Following a walk, Swope allowed a single, a sacrifice fly, and a double. The nerves may have gotten to him, but this was a great teaching moment for Pierce as he evaluates each pitcher’s performance.
Swope was then replaced by Freshman Sam Walbridge, who pitched to one batter, and walked him on a full count, loading the bases and causing another change. While Walbridge did not deliver, this was another great teaching moment for him to learn from.
André Duplantier, already with two appearances this season, relieved Walbridge following the walk, and proceeded to strike out the next batter in 3 pitches to end the 7th inning. Duplantier went on to pitch in the 8th inning as well, allowing 1 walk, no hits and striking out 2 more batters, bringing his strikeout total to 3.
Sophomore Mason Bryant came in to close the game. Although he allowed 2 hits in the 9th inning, he managed to strike out 1 batter and did not allow any runs.
Offensively, Lamar allowed 8 baserunners from walks or HBPs (6 and 2, respectively). This gave the Longhorns many chances to score, which they capitalized on in the 2nd inning. Austin Todd’s single hit on the night came at this time with a double in the right field gap, driving in three runs. This situational hitting is exactly what the team needs to capitalize on moving forward. A sacrifice fly by Murphy Stehly in the 6th inning was another display of this situational hitting, and is something the team can grow on as they prepare for Boise State this weekend.
The newcomers presented another strong hitting performance, as Trey Faltine, Cam Williams and Douglas Hodo all finished with 1 hit each on the night. Additionally, each of these three reached the base path twice more on walks or HBP’s, displaying their plate discipline.
Defensively, Texas took pretty good care of the baseball. There were a few mistakes, such as a mistimed slide behind first base which saw Brenden Dixon drop the baseball. Zach Zubia also had a short-hop line drive that got through his legs, which Faltine made a bad flip on a great fielder’s choice fielding play up the middle (the only counted error). These can all be easily fixed, and are growing moments for these guys moving forward.
One positive out of each of these mistakes was that the guys did not get upset. They instead kept their poise and were ready for the next play. This is the mentality that the Longhorns need if they want to continue their winning ways beyond the first 5 games.
Texas learned a lot about their pitching staff tonight, which is important for them moving forward. The young guys have a lot to learn, but it was great to see them get their feet wet.
The newcomers made an impact yet again on offense. I am looking forward to watching their progress in the series against Boise State.
The defense is learning instead of dwelling, which is the mindset of a winning ball club. As the competition gets better, Texas will need to maintain this mentality.
The Longhorns begin their home opening series on Friday as they host the Boise State Broncos. The first pitch is at 7:00 PM CST at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. If you cannot make it out to The Disch, tune into the Longhorn Network to watch or 104.9 FM The Horn to listen to the game.
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