Texas started the season opening series's final game with a bunt single, an error on a sacrifice bunt, a bunt single, a passed ball, a walk, a walk, a HBP, and a double to establish a 6-0 lead after one inning. The Horns pushed the lead to 10-0 after 3 innings to ensure a competitive game would not break out before sailing to an easy 16-0 finale victory. The win gave Texas a very acceptable 3-1 record through four games against a spunkier-than-expected Maryland team. Hoby Milner solidifying his role as a weekend starter early in the season was the big story on Sunday. Milner pitched 7 complete innings giving up just 2 hits and striking out 10. Josh Urban and Stayton Thomas closed the game with a scoreless inning each.
The Texas pitching lived up to the hype this weekend with two shutouts on the series, assuming we can give Cole Green the benefit of the doubt for his poor outing. If Green struggles against Hawaii then we can start to worry about something being wrong, but for now we're happy to move along. The bullpen was mostly solid, aside from a rough first outing from Kirby Bellow. Keifer Nuncio led the way for the bullpen with a scoreless 3.2 innings over two appearances and Andrew McKirahan pitched the only real competitive late innings of the year, holding Maryland scoreless over 1.2 innings in the third game.
The offensive picture is less clear after one weekend. Kevin Lusson, Jonathan Walsh and Brandon Loy all had weekends below the Mendoza line while freshmen Mark Payton and Jacob Felts showed they may be major contributors with very good offensive debuts. Jordan Etier's next hit will be his first of the season (0-10) and he has taken a lead in the team strikeout race (5 Ks) that he is unlikely to relinquish. But Etier also flashed enough glove to show why Augie keeps him around. Christian Summers got his first chance as Etier's replacement but didn't do any better offensively (0-2, 2 Ks). Additionally, Paul Montalbano did not disappoint in two starts in left field, hitting .429 and drawing three walks on the weekend.
Then there's Erich Weiss. We'll go on the record early and say that he will not maintain his opening weekend pace for the full season, but Weiss had an incredible first weekend in burnt orange. Weiss went 9 for 11 with a double and 2 triples while scoring 6 runs with 7 RBI and 5 walks. Weiss threw in a stolen base and sacrifice to go along with a clean weekend defensively at 3B for good measure. Not a bad weekend for somebody who didn't get an official mention in our big picture preview. If this first weekend is even close to the player we'll get for an entire season then Texas fans should be in for a treat.
After one acceptable weekend at home the Horns have a midweek matchup with TAMU-CC before traveling to Hawaii for three games next weekend. The starting rotation appears to be fairly solidly set but we suspect Augie will continue playing with the lineup to figure out the defense and batting order. Can Texas really enter Big XII play with a 5'8" 165 lbs cleanup hitter? Anyhow, a solid if unspectacular start to the season for Texas baseball continues on Tuesday at 3 PM.