After another disappointing weekend series, Texas Longhorns baseball needed some momentum heading into the Big 12 Conference opener against the TCU Horned Frogs this weekend, and the UTSA Roadrunners proved to be the perfect opponent, as the 'Horns rumbled to a 11-2 victory behind a big day from catcher Tres Barrera on Tuesday night at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
The junior hit his first home run of the season in the eighth inning to finish with three hits and four RBIs on the day. For his career, he's now 8 of 11 with two doubles, two home runs, and 10 RBIs against the Roadrunners.
"I knew eventually it was going to happen," Barrera said of the season's first home run. "Hopefully I can get rolling after doing that. I knew eventually it was going to come -- I've hit a lot of homers since I've been here so I knew sooner or later it was going to happen."
Barrera also got his first start of the season at third base on Tuesday after playing catcher and some first base throughout his career at Texas, but it should be an easy transition for him, as he played shortstop and third base before moving to catcher as a junior in high school
The move allows more playing time at catcher for Michael Cantu, who is the better defensive player of the two behind the plate, but hasn't recorded a multi-hit game since the opener against UNLV.
Tied 2-2 going into the sixth inning, the Longhorns were able to create some separation by scoring eight runs in the bottom of the frame. Texas coaxed five walks sandwiched around an infield single to score the first three runs before first baseman Kacy Clemens and Barrera followed with singles to score three more. An RBI groundout by center fielder Patrick Mathis and an RBI single by designated hitter Kaleb Denny rounded out the scoring.
"I think it was balanced," head coach Augie Garrido said of the big inning. "Sometimes when that kind of thing has started for us, we've become our own worst enemy and we get overaggressive and kind of get it stopped ourselves sometimes. But we've shown a lot more patience and it's a good sign of maturity.
"That's a huge step for us, because most of what's been our biggest demon has been inexperience. So to make good choices over pitches, it all starts there. So I'm really pleased. And then they extended the rally with some hits, too. So all in all, it was the best inning of the year for us from both sides."
The series against No. 6 TCU will begin on Thursday at 6 p.m. at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.