We aren’t going to make a mountain out of a molehill here as all Texas got was a midweek victory tonight. That having been said, we cannot remember a time when Texas needed a midweek win more.
Heading into the conference schedule on Friday, Texas needed a signature win over a quality opponent. Against Rice on Tuesday, Texas got it 9-1.
It was an especially strange game, with: a near half-hour break in play because of light reflecting off a hotel beyond center field, possibly caused by vampires. The game also had a strange rhythm to it caused by a consistently gigantic strike zone. Additionally, the game ended with Rice base runner Jared Gayhart getting hit by a groundball while on his way to second. Finally, those of us listening over the internet got the chance to hear conversations with Keith Moreland during commercial breaks.
There are a number of positives to point out in this great victory:
- Almost everybody hit the ball. With the exception of Kyle Russell (who got on base twice via the BB) and Travis Tucker, every Horn had a hit. Jordan Danks continued to tear the cover off the ball, Brandon Belt had a triple, and Michael Torres was the big winner going 3-4 with a two run HR.
- The hitting musical chairs could be slowing down. While the specific batting order may be up in the air, the specific players are beginning to become clearer. Kyle Lusson seems to have a hold on the left field spot, and Cameron Rupp has filled in admirably for Preston Clark at catcher while the latter gets healthy at DH.
- The pitching was fantastic. One of the Horns biggest advantages this season may very well be the pitching depth. Today that depth showed its potential. Six pitchers combined to give up 1 run on 7 hits, striking out 7 and walking just 3. Cole Green bounced back from a disaster on Sunday to earn the victory, Stayton Thomas continues to impress, and Riley Boening started the game strong until getting slowed by the aforementioned break in play.
- The defense was almost flawless. There was one error on a misplayed bunt in the first inning. A beautiful flip for one, fire for two later and Texas was soon out of danger. The other error came when David Hernandez bobbled a grounder to start the ninth. We'd love to see an error-free game, but until then we're satiated with this result.
Next Up: This week could not have gone better for the Horns, with Texas getting a much needed day off on Monday due to poor weather and a big victory on Tuesday. Texas begins conference play Friday against Kansas at UFCUDFF. At 10-4 we still don't know a ton about this Texas team, but with conference play starting we should find a lot out soon enough.