Kendall Rogers of D1Baseball perhaps said it best: "the Longhorns didn't play a spectacular game, they made the fewest mistakes and executed more, leading to a 3-1 triumph to begin the season." Both starters, Kevin McCanna of Rice and Parker French of Texas, made it just five innings--certainly not unusual or problematic for the first start of the year. McCanna was very good, and as Rogers points out that's to be expected after a strong summer showing in Cape Cod.
Ultimately, though, the breaks just went Texas' way last night. All the peripheral stats that indicate who should win the game were in Rice's favor--in particular, the fact that the Owls got the leadoff man on base seven times in nine innings. The fact that they scored only once has to be considered a statistical anomaly, aided by the fact that Texas turned three double plays. It's great that French and the bullpen combination of Travis Duke (who got the win), Connor Mayes, and Ty Culbreth managed to pitch out of jams (although Culbreth did get a 1-2-3 ninth for the save). But hopefully going forward they'll find ways to avoid jams in the first place.
At the plate, the difference in the game was an opportunistic seventh inning. After getting two runners aboard with a walk and an error, Collin Shaw delivered a two-run double to put Texas ahead by the final margin of 3-1. All in all, you have to be pleased with the Longhorns' finding a way to win on Opening Night and needing just one win in three games now to consider the weekend a success.
Around the league, Oklahoma State lost a heartbreaker at Phoenix Municipal Stadium as Arizona State's Colby Woodmansee smacked a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th. Kansas lost 4-1 at LSU but acquitted themselves well. TCU started with a 5-0 home win over Southern Illinois, and Texas Tech won a high-scoring affair at home against San Francisco--one of those California schools that's usually surprisingly salty. Baylor beat Cal Poly 8-6 in Waco, Kansas State went on the road and pulled a 5-4 win over Iowa, and Oklahoma easily beat Notre Dame 6-1 at home. Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of Opening Day was West Virginia going on the road to beat Clemson of the ACC by a score of 2-0. All in all, an 8-1 start for the league--mostly against legitimate competition--is something to be proud of.
Today's first game starts at 12:00 noon and the second will follow. You can pay to watch on RiceOwls.com, or listen free to the Texas broadcast on the Texas Sports website. This is your BON open thread. Hook 'Em!