A run-happy 5th inning propelled Texas Baseball to their 9th win of the season. After a slow start offensively, a 5-hit, 4-run 5th inning gave the Longhorns a 4-1 lead. Sam Houston State, Texas’ best opponent yet according to RPI, provided Texas with a formidable challenge as the team heads into the Shriner College Classic in Houston.
Freshman Pete Hansen got his first start of the season for the Longhorns, performing well in 5 innings. When asked about Hansen, head coach David Pierce said, “(His pitch count) was right around 60 to 70 (pitches). (There was) cool weather, he had a little bit of stress in the 1st (inning), but outside of that he got locked in, and was really good.” Pierce’s pitching staff has thus far proven to be the reliable aspect of the team along with defense. As Hansen continues to get healthier following his preseason mono sickness, he will be able to last longer, possibly elongating his appearance lengths to make him a starting option. Hansen’s 6-strikeout, 2-hit and 1-walk performance over 70 pitches was an encouraging sign that he can move in that direction.
The offense was stumped by two-way player (pitcher/hitter) Jack Rogers for the Bearkats, as Rogers stormed through the Texas batters over the first 4 innings. The 5th inning changed the entire script for the Longhorns though, as a 5-hit, 4-run inning played out for them. This was highlighted by Zach Zubia’s 2-run RBI single, which made his season RBI total a team-high 13.
— Texas Baseball (@TexasBaseball) February 26, 2020
Eric Kennedy continued his offensive success, with 2 hits and a walk a run scored on the day. When asked about his adjustments recently at the plate, Kennedy said, “(I have been) slowing the game down; my swing needed adjustments so I did that.”
Austin Todd had another strong game swinging, with two hits and 1 RBI, adding to his already strong start to the season (.324 average coming into Tuesday night). Duke Ellis did not have as much success, as his error in the first set the tone for his night. Look for him to bounce back out of that slump Friday against LSU.
The Texas defense was off to a rocky start (error by Duke Ellis in the 1st inning), but reverted back to their strong form by the 2nd inning. From that point on they were reliable, making all the plays to prevent Sam Houston State from scoring more than 1 run in the 1st inning. The Longhorns’ defense will need to be solid every inning this weekend, as their opponents will capitalize on small mistakes.
Texas faces off against #11 LSU Friday night at 7 PM CST, the opener to their Shriner College Classic weekend in Houston. If the Longhorns’ continue to be effective pitching-wise and defensively sound, they should be competitive in every game at Minute Maid Park. Tune into AT&T Sportsnet Southwest on Friday night to catch the action. You can also listen to the gave on Texas Sports’ free streaming audio (link below).
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