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Longhorns can’t get sweep, fall to UL-Lafayette 2-1 in series finale

Texas still took the opening weekend series against the Ragin’ Cajuns, but didn’t have the offense necessary to win Sunday.

Brian Hoang

The brooms will have to wait, as the ‘Horns couldn’t pull of a sweep to kick off the season.

Texas Longhorns baseball fell to the UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns 2-1 on Sunday afternoon in the Opening Weekend finale. Texas was still able to earn the series win, as the ‘Horns took the Friday and Saturday games.

The game saw David Pierce making some changes to his lineup for the left-handed pitcher Hogan Harris. Joe Baker and Michael McCann made their first starts of the season at second base and catcher, respectively.

Starting pitcher Blair Henley was highly efficient in the opening innings, using only 18 pitches through the first two frames. UL-Lafayette’s Hogan, who threw heat in the mid 90s, was much less economical with his pitches.

The southpaw loaded the bases with two outs in the first inning after a Kody Clemens single, Austin Todd walk, and DJ Petrinsky hit by pitch. Michael McCann then stepped to the plate for his first at-bat of the season, but struck out looking on a nice off-speed pitch.

The ‘Horns continued to be patient at the plate and work Hogan, who left the game with two outs in the bottom of the third after tweaking a muscle.

However, it would be the Ragin’ Cajuns who would strike first.

Henley quickly lost steam, and threw a lead off walk to Daniel Lahare in the bottom of the fifth. Lahare then advanced on a fielder’s choice back to the pitcher, and then moved to third on a groundout to the shortstop. With two outs, Henley surrendered a line drive single, and UL-Lafayette plated the run to make it 1-0.

After Henley got out of the inning on a groundout, the Texas offense came out at yet another timely moment in this series. David Hamilton reached base on a leadoff walk, and then Masen Hibbeler earned a bunt single. A Kody Clemens sacrifice bunt moved both players other, and Austin Todd used his newfound power to deliver a long opposite field sac fly to score Hamilton.

With Hibbeler on third and two outs, Petrinsky nearly got his first hit of his Longhorn career in a big way, as he drove a ball deep to center. However, the UL-Lafayette outfielder Lahare was able to make an impressive catch and retire the ‘Horns with the score locked at 1-1.

Andy McGuire, who hadn’t played for the ‘Horns since 2015, came on in relief for Henley and put down UL-Lafayette 1-2-3 in the sixth, closing the inning with a strikeout.

Ryan Reynolds hit a two out double for the ‘Horns in the bottom of the inning, but the ‘Horns couldn’t get him home. McGuire returned to the bump in the seventh, and got a pop out before walking Lahare. Lahare advanced to second on a groundout, and leadoff man Gavin Bourgeois knocked him home with a double down the right field line.

Left-handed pitcher Josh Sawyer, who missed 2017 due to injury, then replaced McGuire and earned a strikeout to get out of the seventh.

Sawyer had a phenomenal eight and ninth inning, as he struck out three and only allowed one baserunner, which came off of a walk.

However, Texas did not have the late inning offensive magic that sparked Saturday’s walk-off homer. The ‘Horns went down in order in the eighth, and the first two batters in the ninth were put out as well.

Zach Zubia was hit by a pitch with two outs in the ninth, causing the Ragin’ Cajuns to turn to Logan Stoelke to close the game out.

David Hamilton came to the plate as the winning run, but he grounded out to first to end the game.

Texas will host Lamar this Wednesday for a mid-week game at 7:30 pm CST.

The ‘Horns will then travel to Baton Rouge next weekend to face the LSU Tigers. Though LSU was ranked in the top 25 to start the season, the Tigers surprisingly dropped two of three at home this opening weekend against Notre Dame.

Weekend Notes:

  • Kody Clemens and Masen Hibbeler were by far the two best hitters for the ‘Horns this weekend. The two combined to hit 12-23 in the series, while the rest of the team went 7-68. That’s a .103 average...yikes.
  • All three of Texas’ starting pitchers had impressive starts. It was disappointing that Henley didn’t have the distance to go further than five innings, but he still only allowed one run to put the ‘Horns in good position to win.
  • Texas’ relief looked really solid as well. Freshman Bryce Elder was excellent in his one inning of work Saturday, putting UL-Lafayette down 1-2-3. Andy McGuire and Josh Sawyer both made nice come backs after missing last season (and in McGuire’s case, the 2016 season as well). Really the only pitcher who had a bad appearance was Beau Ridgeway. However, the two runs he allowed (which came off of small ball tactics) in the ninth on Saturday seemed more like a fluke than an indication that Ridgeway has lost the excellent stuff he had in 2017.