The No. 12 Texas Longhorns (12-3) continued to stay hot in the month of March as they defeated the No. 6 Stanford Cardinal (9-3) by the score of 4-0 at Sunken Diamond in Palo Alto on Thursday. The shutout gave the Horns a big opening game win as they look to take the series win against Stanford for the first time since 2014.
If you like pitchers duels, then this was the game for you. Both Ty Madden for Texas and Brandon Beck for Stanford showcased outstanding command and poise throughout the game as the game remained scoreless up until the ninth inning.
In a game like this, opportunities for runs are very few in between. The Longhorns had their first real chance to take the lead in the top of the fourth inning. Junior right fielder Austin Todd advanced to third on a wild pitch, but unfortunately redshirt sophomore third baseman Ryan Reynolds was the victim of a well-placed fastball by Beck that ended the threat by the Horns.
Madden entered an unchartered territory in the bottom of the fifth as it was the longest outing of his young career. Stanford got its first real chance to break the tiebreaker as Nick Bellafronto reached first base on a routine fielding error by freshman shortstop Bryce Reagan. Immediately after, a sac bunt turned into a single as the throw from Madden was not in time to first base. However, the young freshman showed a lot of heart, as he was able to retire the next three batters to end the Cardinal threat.
Following a 1-2-3 inning from Beck, Madden didn’t have long to take a rest as before he knew it, he was out there on the mound again. The freshman right-hander started the bottom of the sixth with a five-pitch walk to Brandon Wulff. Fortunately for Madden, an infield shift paved the way for a double play to get two quick outs. Credit to head coach David Pierce and the rest of the staff as their scouting report on Andrew Daschbach proved to be true. Still, Madden remained poised, as he was able to get his seventh strikeout of the game to send the Longhorns back to the plate.
Ty Madden’s day was done when the Longhorns went back into the field in the bottom of the eighth inning. Throughout the game, he showed a great diversity of pitches that kept Stanford handcuffed. First-pitch strikes were huge for the freshman as he was almost always ahead early in counts, which helped prolong his outing on the mound. His numbers are listed below:
Ty Madden – 7.0IP, 0R, 0ER, 5H, 3BB, 7SO, 107 pitches
Despite Stanford threatening later in the inning, the combination of redshirt sophomore right-hander Tristan Stevens and sophomore stopper Kam Fields got the Horns out of the inning as the game remained scoreless heading to the ninth.
Texas got the start they needed in the top of the ninth when junior center fielder Duke Ellis beat out a throw from the second baseman for an infield single. A walk to freshman left fielder Eric Kennedy put the Longhorns in a good spot with runners on first and second with no outs. That walk also ended Beck’s night with clutch junior right fielder Austin Todd up next. Todd was able to execute a sac bunt to move both runners over to put Texas in a prime position to take the lead. Following an intentional walk to redshirt sophomore designed hitter Zach Zubia to load the bases, Reynolds managed to work an RBI walk to give the Horns their first lead of the game.
After Reynolds produced the game’s first, an RBI single by senior first baseman Tate Shaw through the right side of the infield broke the game wide open, as Shaw was able to bring in two base runners to extend the Longhorns lead 3-0. Later in the inning, Texas added another run on the scoreboard thanks to a wild pitch that scored Reynolds from third, bringing the score 4-0 in favor of the Horns.
Despite surrendering the first multi-base hit of the game in the bottom of the inning, Fields continued his hot start to the season, as he was able to mow down the Stanford lineup to steal game one of this highly touted series. His deep-biting slider was exceptional.
In a four-game series, it’s always beneficial when your Thursday night starter goes deep into the game to preserve the rest of your bullpen. That’s exactly what Madden gave the Longhorns, as the freshman was able to go a season-long seven innings without rendering a run.
Even though Texas didn’t have the best night offensively, it’s hard to be critical when on the road facing one of the best pitching staffs in the country. It just speaks to job that Pierce and his staff has done constructing this roster with talent and the unrelenting attitude of this team to win ballgames.
The Horns will be back in action tomorrow at 8:05 p.m. Central, as sophomore right-hander Bryce Elder (2-0, 0.44) is scheduled to be on the mound. You can catch the game on the Stanford live stream or listen in on 104.9 FM The Horn/1260 AM.