Following consecutive losses of just one run a piece at the hands of the No. 17 West Virginia Mountaineers, the Texas Longhorns avoided heartbreak in a big way on Sunday with a 10-2 victory at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
Texas was boosted by phenomenal outings from a pair of freshmen. Starting pitcher Ty Madden spun six innings of two run (one earned) ball, allowing just six hits and one walk and striking out three. On the other side of the plate, second baseman Lance Ford provided the muscle for the Horns, going three-for-five with a a double, two home runs, and six RBI.
Most of the action came in the early and middle stages of the game. West Virginia jumped on the board first with one run in the top of the second, but Texas responded in the bottom half of the inning. With Tate Shaw on second base, Ford began his monstrous day at the plate by cranking a low-hanging breaking ball over the right-center field fence to leapfrog the Longhorns over the Mountaineers, 2-1.
Texas added another run in the third inning on a Ryan Reynolds sacrifice groundout to push the Longhorn lead to 3-1. WVU got that run back in the fourth inning to close the gap to 3-2, and threatened to add more with the bases loaded and one out. But Madden was able to induce a ground ball double play, and country roads wouldn’t lead the Mountaineers to any more runs in the inning, or on the day.
Instead, just half an inning later in the bottom of the fourth, Texas slowly started to pull away from WVU.
Following Ford’s double to open the inning, a throwing error on a bunt back to the pitcher off the bat of Michael McCann brought in Ford from second. A Duke Ellis single moved McCann to third before Masen Hibbeler brought McCann in off an infield single. Eric Kennedy singled to add to the hit parade, and that scored Ellis from third base. Once the dust settled on the fourth inning, Texas found themselves up 6-2.
Scoring resumed for the final time in the sixth inning. A Zach Zubia walk, Ryan Reynolds single, and Tate Shaw walk loaded up the bases for Lance Ford. Despite sporting an impressive 2-for-3 line including his first career home run and two RBI, Ford wasn’t done dealing damage at the plate. Turning a great game into a grand one, Ford took a 2-1 fastball right down the middle to right center field to make it 10-2 Texas.
Matteo Bocchi pitched the final three innings of the game, and did so masterfully. Bocchi threw for three innings, allowing one hit, no walks, and struck out two and effectively shut down any chance of a Mountaineer comeback.
The Longhorns will next take the field Tuesday in a road game against Texas A&M Corpus Christi. The game is set for first pitch at 6:35 p.m. Central, and you can catch the action on the Southland Digital Network.