I had the chance to watch the Longhorns take care of business in the first game of the series with the Aggies at UFCUDFF (bleh) tonight, and I must admit that I was quite impressed. Due to a traffic/girlfriend/forgetful incident, however, I wasn't able to bring my camera, so no more giant photos for this recap. The good news is Texas made the most of a dominant 7 inning performance by Chance Ruffin to take the game 5-2.
While I lament not having seen more games at the Disch, missing most of the middle of the season has given me a good idea of just how much this team has improved this year. [Note by Horn Brain, 05/17/08 11:35 AM CDT ] Augie agrees here , check out the first quote.
- Chance Ruffin pitched a real gem tonight, scattering 6 hits and 2 walks over 7 innings, and yielding only one run in the 4th as the Aggies strung together a few doubles. Beyond that, the kid was money. He'd get a few runners on, then strike out two batters in a row, usually by burning a fastball right by them. The kid's got some nasty stuff.
- The defense is vastly improved from the last time I got a look. It's a real boost to your pitcher's confidence when you know that your infield isn't going to give any freebies away. Very solid defense tonight, I would say. We're not blowing anyone away regularly with web-gem catches or anything, but that's coming along. The play of the game has to be 2B Travis Tucker's dive for a fast grounder up the middle in the 6th. Still sliding on his belly, he flips it to SS David Hernandez, who turned the double play to 1B Brandon Belt. Never would have happened in the Stanford game I covered earlier this season.
- Brandon Belt closed the game with some impressive relief in the final two frames. 3 hits and a walk yielding one run in 39 pitches with 3 K's is not bad for a first baseman. Belt took care of business quickly in the 8th, then lost it for a few minutes in the 9th with 2 out... sort of. The Aggies had been hitting Belt, but just doinky grounders so far. Suddenly the doinky grounders became doinky loopers just between the infield and outfield. Luckily, though, Belt came up big and struck out the tying run to end the game. Kid's got nasty stuff, gotta love him.
- The offense did a good job against a good pitcher today. A&M's Raley is something like 6-1 or 8-1 now that the 'Horns have handed him his first loss. He stayed poised despite serious threats from the Longhorns in the 3rd and 5th, both times ending the inning with a runner in scoring position and limiting the damage to one run. Texas kept plugging away, however, and broke the game open in the 7th with 3 runs, 2 thanks to CF Jordan Danks' second triple of the night.
Let's hope Big Bird and Austin Wood keep up the recent trend of improved pitching for the final two games in College Station. One more win is the goal here, but two would be a statement and a big boost to team morale at the best possible time. Again, I wish I had pictures, but no luck. As a replacement, any questions you guys have will be answered to the best of my knowledge in the comments. Just don't expect a thousand words per response.
[Note by Horn Brain, 05/16/08 10:52 PM CDT ] Oh and for those still keeping score, yes, I brought my girlfriend to this game. She's like seven-and-oh now. Geesh. Currently taking donations for her OU ticket.
[Note by Horn Brain, 05/16/08 10:57 PM CDT ] Also, new toy news: Look in the "Read Related" section just below the "Add your comment" link. That's the box score. Use the "Add Related Item" button on the right side of the FanPost editor to do this in your own posts in the future.