Friday night the Texas Longhorns (20-12, 7-3) defeated the Baylor Bears (14-14, 3-7) 9-5 in game one of the three-game series. After falling quickly behind early in the game — which doesn’t bode well for the ‘Horns, since they end up losing most games in which they don’t score first — Texas was able to capitalize on opportunities while settling on the mound.
Getting his eighth start of the season, Nolan Kingham got the nod in tonight’s game. Coming off a two-inning outing at Kansas State, Kingham hasn’t quite looked the same since his tremendous start to Big 12 play. Tonight wasn’t anything different — as he only survived two innings before David Pierce decided to go to the bullpen.
Baylor got off to a great start at the plate as the Bears plated four throughout the first two innings. In the first, Richard Cunningham two-run homered which was the start of a special night. Following a two run first, Baylor plated two more off of T.J. Raguse and Nick Loftin’s bats.
And just like that, Kingham’s night was done after two innings of work. One thing to note is that the Texas starting pithing has really struggled getting it going early in games, allowing multiple runs and putting the team in the hole.
The Longhorns were able to cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third 4-2. Following an Ellis single to third, DJ Petrinsky two-run homered over the left field fence.
Following multiple strong and efficient innings by Texas pitcher Matthew Whelan, the ‘Horns put up a four-spot on the Bears to take the lead in the fifth. In need of some runs, Texas deployed small ball tactics that worked to perfection. With runners on first and second, Petrinsky sacrifice bunted to move over Ellis and McKenzie to second and third, respectively. A smoked ball to straightaway center that hit the wall resulted in a two-RBI triple for Tate Shaw. More impressively, that was Shaw’s fourth triple of the year.
Masen Hibbeler then gave the ‘Horns the lead 5-4 with a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Shaw from third. More good fortune came the way of Texas as Ryan Reynolds extended the lead 6-4 off an RBI single to right field to score Clemens from second.
Richard Cunningham kept Baylor within striking distance in the sixth with a solo homerun that hit the foul pole in right field. He finished the night with two homeruns and a triple short of the cycle. Props.
After the sixth concluded, Texas was up 6-5. Good news – when leading after six, Texas is undefeated with a mark of 19-0. The millennial in me really likes the analytical part of baseball.
I must say that the Texas bullpen tonight really did a nice job settling in the game and limited Baylor from capitalizing opportunities. And Baylor did have many opportunities to blow the game wide open. Despite those four runs earlier in the game, the combination of Whelan, Robinson, Sawyer, and Elder got the job done when they needed it most.
Texas added more insurance in the bottom of the eighth when the Longhorns brought in three to extend the lead 9-5. All three runs came off of RBI singles from Petrinsky, Shaw, and Hibbeler. It was nice to see Petrinsky have the kind of night he had since he really hasn’t had much production at the plate. He finished the night going 2-3 with three RBI’s.
Bryce Elder closed out the game for the Longhorns in the top half of the ninth to give Texas their seventh come-from-behind victory of the season.
The Longhorns will be back in action tomorrow at 4:00 P.M. CT at UFCU Disch-Falk Field and will look to take the series against the Baylor Bears. Chase Shugart (2-2, 5.72) looks to be the probable starter for tomorrow’s game. You can watch the game on the Longhorn Network or listen on 104.9 The Horn.