No. 20 Texas Longhorns baseball closed out its series with the Northwestern Wildcats in impressive fashion, winning 12-1 in a seven inning game on Sunday afternoon. Texas fell in the first meeting with the Wildcats, but won the last three games to take the series 3-1.
The Longhorns didn’t take long to get the offense going as the team put up two runs in the first. Masen Hibbeler got the rally started with a one out single and Kody Clemens followed with a walk.
Zach Zubia then knocked a single to right center to score Hibbeler and put the ‘Horns up 1-0. Ryan Reynolds then added a single of his own to score Clemens and make it 2-0.
The ‘Horns could’ve inflicted even more damage in the inning after Jake McKenzie singled to load the bases with still one out. However, Tate Shaw then struck out and Duke Ellis flied out to end the inning.
Texas continued to break open the game in the second inning, as David Hamilton started the rally with a one out double. Hibbeler folllowed with a single up the middle to score Hamilton, and Clemens then knocked a triple on the right field side to score Hibbeler and make it 4-0. Zubia then notched a single back up the middle to score Clemens and put the ‘Horns on top 5-0.
While Texas coasted to an early lead on offense, starting pitcher Matteo Bocchi had a cushion to work with from the mound. The Italian Stallion cruised through the first and second inning, but then came into trouble in the third.
With the bases loaded and one out, Bocchi walked a runner home on a full count. He bounced back by getting a grounder to short that Hamilton expertly turned into a double play to get out of the inning with the score at 5-1.
Texas scored again in the third after Hamilton launched a two out double to the right center gap to score Duke Ellis, who had reached base on a walk.
Bocchi continued to turn in a solid outing, allowing only two hits across his 4.1 innings pitched. He did have some issues with command, and was pulled in the fifth inning after allowing two straight walks with one out.
Bryce Elder then came on to pitch and in the process, David Pierce got ejected for the first time as Texas head coach. Pierce, who had been unhappy with some of the calls earlier in the game, was arguing that a Northwestern batter hadn’t checked his swing.
Elder earned a quick strikeout and the inning ended after Hamilton made a diving play on a hard hit ground ball up the middle and gunned down the runner coming home.
As Elder continued to retain control over the lopsided game, the Texas offense poured on more runs. Hibbeler, who went 4-5 on the day, knocked in an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth, and Reynolds hit a solo shot in the sixth to make it 10-1. In the seventh and final inning, the ‘Horns added two more runs on a Zubia RBI single and Ryan Reynolds fielder’s choice.
The game was called with the score at 12-1, giving Texas the weekend series victory and moving Texas to 8-4 on the year.
The ‘Horns will face a tall task next weekend, as David Pierce’s team will host the 10-1 Stanford Cardinal in a four-game series. The series kicks off Thursday at 6:30 pm CST.