Ty Madden is the real deal.
The Texas Longhorns right-hander entered the season with high expectations and he’s living up to them after throwing a complete-game shutout against the Houston Cougars on Friday in a 1-0 win, the first such outing for a Longhorns pitcher since 2017.
In a fitting development, Madden struck out the final batter he faced for his 14th strikeout, setting his career high for the second consecutive outing. With a fastball that hit 98 miles per hour at times and was located with pinpoint control, Madden hardly needed his secondary pitches, but when he did, he was able to get swings and misses on his slider and his changeup.
Houston only managed two hits and two walks against Madden, who was dominant throughout despite the lack of run support. Texas didn’t get a hit until the fourth inning and stranded six runners in scoring position.
Houston starter Rob Gasser dealt with some brief stretches of command issues, including hitting two Texas batters, but made it through seven innings without allowing a run by making key pitches when the Longhorns got on base.
The first hit for the Longhorns was a hustle, two-out double in the top of the fourth inning by third baseman Cam Williams — it was also the first ball that the Longhorns hit well. First baseman Zach Zubia drew a walk on four pitches to put two runners on base, but after battling back from an 0-2 count, shortstop Trey Faltine struck out to end the rally.
In the fifth inning, catcher Silas Ardoin drew a leadoff walk. After squaring early to bunt, designated hitter Dylan Campbell went outside the zone for his first strike, then swung through the second before hitting a fielder’s choice to the Houston third baseman. Campbell advanced to second on a wild pitch, but center fielder Mike Antico struck out on a pitch in the dirt to end the inning.
A one-out single through the right side by right fielder Austin Todd in the sixth inning and a bloop single by Zubia put runners on first and third with two outs. Once again, however, Gasser was able to get out of the inning, this time with a flyout to left field by Faltine.
By the end of the sixth, Texas had left six runners in scoring position, going 0-for-3 in those situations and 1-for-9 with runners on base. Ardoin’s leadoff walk was the only time the first batter reached base.
When Gasser left the game in favor of closer Derrick Cherry, Texas was finally able to take advantage as Cherry struggled to find the strike zone.
Antico doubled to lead off the eighth inning and was sacrificed to third, but Todd was thrown out after his slide took him over second base following a walk. Three more walks helped the Longhorns break the scoreless tie. Texas had a chance to open up a commanding lead when Ardoin hit a ball hard into deep center field, only to have it taken away when Brandon Uhse made a difficult running catch.
Still, with Madden dealing on the mound, Texas was able to make the lead stand up and only needed the single run to take the opening game against Houston. Head coach David Pierce’s team has now won six of the last seven games after opening the season with three losses in Arlington.
The Cougars and Longhorns return to Schroeder Park on Saturday at 2 p.m. Central on ESPN+.