We don't want to take too much front-page space on Kevin Durant Day, so click through past the jump for a review of last night's Texas-UTA baseball contest which moved the Horns to 5-0 on the season.
For a recap of how it happened, Texas Sports has your game story and box score right here. In short, Cameron Rupp delivered a two-out, bases-loaded double to score Brandon Loy and Brandon Belt and give Texas a 4-3 win. But the actual result of this game was not nearly as important as what we can learn from it--after all, it was a non-conference game in the first week of the season. Luckily, there were plenty of things to get excited about going forward:
- The performance of freshman Austin Dicharry on the mound gave Texas its fifth straight stellar start (how's that for alliteration?). Dicharry allowed no runs on only two hits in six innings of work. Along with Taylor Jungmann's work last weekend, Dicharry's collegiate debut gave Texas fans plenty of reason to believe that Augie has restocked the pitching staff for a return to excellence.
- In relief, Chance Ruffin threw an inning and a third in what was essentially a bullpen session for him. Ruffin clearly didn't have his best stuff, as he allowed the Mavericks' only two runs in regulation. Austin Wood picked up the win despite giving up a solo homerun in the top of the tenth to give Arlington a great chance to win. Still, Wood has been the anchor of the bullpen so far this season and has shined in the role.
- One final thought: while it is tempting to be somewhat discouraged by the fact that Texas needed bottom-of-the-tenth heroics to beat a lesser opponent, consider the following:
- UTA is actually a pretty solid team.
- Early in the season, pitching is always a step or two ahead of offenses because it just takes longer to get the timing down for hitters. That's a big part of the reason why the Major Leagues play a month of Spring Training games before Opening Day--they want the best offensive product on the field from the beginning.
- Throughout the season, top teams play mid-week games that are closer than the casual fan expects for a simple reason: while the big-name school is throwing their number four or five starter, the underdog is going to throw their ace every time. Texas sets up its rotation to be exactly right every weekend, while UTA, UT Pan-Am, Texas State, A&M Corpus, etc. all set up their rotations to try and beat Texas, A&M, Tech, Baylor, etc. on Tuesdays. Which, of course, makes sense--the game means much more to one team than to the other.
So all in all, a nice midweek win for a team that could be special before it's all said and done. Next up for Texas is a four-game weekend set against Penn State at UFCU-DFF. PSU comes in at 2-1; Black Shoe Diaries has your recap of the Nittany Lions' opening weekend. You can go to the Friday game for a discounted price and/or watch them all online for free.