If you’re looking to cope with today’s Texas basketball loss, and find some sliver of positivity, I’ve got you covered. Coming off a day in which the college baseball community learned the sad news that former coach Augie Garrido passed away, the Texas Longhorns (10-9) snapped their five-game losing streak against the Kansas Jayhawks (12-5) on Friday night in Austin.
Coming into Big 12 play, Texas was looking to hit the reset button as they have really struggled on the backside of their non-conference schedule. They have particularly struggled on the mound. If there was ever a time to restart, now is the time.
Nolan Kingham got the start for the ‘Horns tonight looking to steer his season back in the right direction, squaring off with Kansas’ Tyler Davis. Even though Davis hasn’t seen a lot of action this year, he has a lot of collegiate experience and posted a strong 1.69 ERA. Despite Davis not giving up a lot of runs, Texas came out swinging and jumped all over the Kansas pitcher.
Playing with heavy hearts, the Longhorns were the first to get on the board. Subsequent to a Duke Ellis lead off single and Kody Clemens reaching on a fielder’s choice, Zach Zubia’s RBI singled through the left side of the infield scored Ellis. Ryan Reynolds followed that up with an RBI single to left field to score Zubia from second to put Texas up 2-0.
Following Kingham’s efficient 1-2-3 inning in the third, Texas added another run to their total in the bottom half of the inning. Kody Clemens gave the ‘Horns a base runner following his five-pitch walk. Zubia, who continued his dominance at the plate, singled to RF to move Clemens to second. Then Reynolds got his second RBI of the night when he drove in Clemens off of a hard hit ball through the left side of the infield to extend the lead 3-0.
Kansas was able to cut the lead following a two-run home run by James Cosentino, but Kingham limited the damage by getting the next three batters out.
Texas earned some separation in the bottom half of the fourth as they put up a five spot on the Jayhawks. Tate Shaw started off the inning singling to center field, and advanced to third following another single to center from Masen Hibbeler. Texas caught a break when a wild pitch (which was actually a foul ball) resulted in Shaw scoring from third and Hibbeler advancing to third. After Ellis hit an RBI single through the left side of the infield, Clemens followed with an RBI triple to straightaway center to score Ellis to give the ‘Horns a 6-2 lead. Zubia kept the momentum going with an RBI single to right field to drive in Clemens. Later in the inning, the Longhorns loaded the bases and managed to score one off of a passed ball, putting Texas up 8-2.
Rudy Karre got one back for Kansas in the top half of the sixth as he homered over the left-center fence to trim the Texas lead to 8-3. That’s all Kansas could manage against Kingham, as a sweet strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out ended the inning.
Strike 'em out, throw 'em out ends the top of the 6th! #HookEm pic.twitter.com/wx30zukA9j— Texas Baseball (@TexasBaseball) March 17, 2018
In the bottom half of the sixth, Texas issued more insurance for Kingham as Austin Todd scored off of a wild pitch and Tate Shaw tripled to extend the lead to 10-3.
Kansas and Texas would exchange runs in the seventh as they scored one and two, respectively to bring the score to 12-4 in favor of the Longhorns.
As if Kingham didn’t need any more run support, given he had made life difficult for the Jayhawk lineup, Texas poured on a couple of more runs in the eighth inning following RBI singles by both Todd and Andy McGuire.
Head coach David Pierce felt comfortable enough to leave Kingham in for the ninth, and the junior pitcher delivered, starting and ending the game for the Longhorns on the mound for a 14-4 win. His stat line is listed below:
Nolan Kingham – 9.0IP, 4R, 4ER, 10H, 0BB, 3SO, 97 pitches
Even though he didn’t fill up the stat sheet, he limited Kansas to very few opportunities. Not to mention, the defense played a big part in getting Kingham out of any possible trouble. Hopefully this game will give him the confidence he needs to continue this way throughout Big 12 play.
The Longhorns had the kind of performance one, certainly myself, would come to expect against an opponent like Kansas. I mean, come on, Texas should and needs to sweep this team.
Texas will be back in action tomorrow and looks to throw sophomore pitcher Blair Henley (2-1, 2.35) against Kansas’s pitcher Taylor Turski (1-2, 5.49). First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. CT at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. You can watch it on the Longhorn Network or listen on 104.9 The Horn.