After a disappointing 11-10 loss to the Texas State Bobcats in San Marcos in March, the Texas Longhorns took care of business at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday evening, riding a four-run first inning to a 9-2 victory.
Right fielder Patrick Mathis started for the first time in nearly a month after dealing with leg issues and responded with a two-run home run in the fifth inning to push the lead to 7-2, but the major damage was done early.
A double started the scoring for Texas when third baseman Ryan Reynolds knocked in left fielder Tate Shaw. Texas State then walked catcher Michael McCann, setting up a run-scoring single by second baseman Bret Boswell.
The final two runs crossed the plate thanks to a fielder’s choice off the bat of first baseman Jake McKenzie and a walk issued to shortstop David Hamilton.
Overall, the Longhorns were able to draw six walks against erratic Bobcats starter Chase Baird, who lasted only 2.2 innings.
Texas fared much better on the mound — surprising sophomore Nick Kennedy left in the fourth inning after giving up two runs in that frame, but scattered six hits over his 3.2 innings and struck out five opposing hitters. He also didn’t hurt himself in allowing only a single walk.
In relief, Chase Shugart earned his second win of the season by recording one out. Connor Mayes and Tyler Schimpf followed with two scoreless innings apiece in combining for five strikeouts and only one hit allowed, while Blair Henley pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn head coach David Pierce his 23rd win in a Texas uniform.
Last season, the Longhorns won only 25 games total.
With the Easter weekend looming, Texas will start its three-game series against Baylor in Waco on Thursday at 6:35 p.m CT. The Bears are 3-6 so far in conference play.
Can the Longhorns take two or three steps forward this weekend or will there be another disappointment following last weekend’s impressive series victory over nationally-ranked Oklahoma?