Brooks Marlow hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning on Tuesday and Texas took advantage of its strong pitching depth to defeat UT Pan American 6-1 on Tuesday night. Perhaps the best part of the ball game came in the post-game story on TexasSports.com in which Augie Garido commented on his team's "offensive explosion" (their words).
Six runs on five hits. An offensive explosion!
Texas baseball in the dead ball era, everybody!
The win brought Texas to 7-5 on the year and shook away some of the bad taste of last week's 0-4 performance. This weekend brings a pretty good UC Santa Barbara team to Austin. The Gauchos are 8-4 on the year but their non-UCLA opponents are a paltry 15-27 combined on the young season. UCLA took UCSB behind the woodshed 13-2 on February 26th.
UC Santa Barbara hits okay, with a .280 team batting average, led by sophomore right fielder Woody Woodward (.438 batting average, 1.092 OPS). On the mound, Friday starter Austin Pettibone has made three consecutive excellent starts (8, 7.1 and 6 IP with just two ER) and will present a challenge to the suddenly offensively challenged Texas hitters. Presumptive Saturday starter Justin jacome, a freshman, has been hit so far this season (.313 opponent batting average), but his 13 strikeouts with only three walks is solid. Likely Sunday starter Andrew Vasquez hasn't been overly hittable (.196 opponent batting average) but he leads the team in both walks (11) and strikeouts (15) in only 14 innings.
Texas will counter with their increasingly stable starting pitching rotation. Parker French, Dillon Peters and Nathan Thornhill have all been excellent this season and Texas probably would have taken or game or two in Palo Alto if the Texas offense weren't performing so anemically right now. Defensively the Horns are starting to come together, led by the emergence of CJ Hinojosa as a good-as-advertised player in the field and at the plate.
First pitch tonight is at 7 PM and the game is on the Longhorn Network. This'll be your Friday night open thread.