Despite missing three starters in the infield due to suspensions from Friday evening’s altercation, the No. 4 Texas Longhorns didn’t miss a beat on Saturday against the Kansas State Wildcats in a 15-1 victory at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, scoring seven runs in the third inning and five runs in the fourth inning to take control of the game early.
After a potential breakout performance on Friday night, center fielder Mike Antico moved back up to the top of the order with three starters out and quickly took advantage, starting the Texas half of the first inning with a home run on an elevated changeup that hit the scoreboard in right-center field.
Antico went 2-for-4 with three runs and a walk to push his batting average up to .241, the highest of the season for him.
Control struggles surfaced for Kansas State right-hander Carson Seymour, who walked second baseman Dylan Campbell and Antico to lead off the third inning. Left fielder Eric Kennedy then loaded the bases with a bunt single. Seymour’s difficulties finding the strike zone continued with a four-pitch walk to Texas first baseman Zach Zubia that brought home a run. Catcher Silas Ardoin drove in another run with a line drive up the middle that forced Kennedy to pause at second base to ensure it wasn’t caught by the second baseman. A groundout by designated hitter Ivan Melendez pushed the lead to 4-0 before right fielder Douglas Hodo III added two more runs with a single to left field on an 0-2 fastball right down the middle that ended Seymour’s outing without completing three innings.
Following a single by third baseman Lance Ford, his first hit of the season, shortstop Murphy Stehly singled through the left side of the infield to score Hodo as Texas sent 12 batters to the plate in the third inning and scored seven runs on six hits and three walks.
The hit parade continued in the fourth inning, including a two-run blast by Melendez, his fifth consecutive game with a home run.
The inning also featured a two-run triple by Stehly and a sacrifice fly by Campbell as the Longhorns scored five runs to take a 13-0 lead.
Three singles, a walk, and a hit by pitch in the seventh inning produced two more runs before pinch hitter Dalton Porter hit into a double play with the bases loaded.
Right-hander Tristan Stevens worked quickly and efficiently through the first two innings, pounding the strike zone and recording six outs on 15 pitches despite allowing two hits. In the third inning, the first two pitches from Stevens produced outs before he really had to battle a hitter, needing three pitches to induce a fly ball to short center field to end the frame. By the time Stevens took the mound in the fifth inning, he’d only spent 14 total minutes on the mound. Seven pitches later, he was headed back to the dugout following a 1-2-3 inning.
Stevens lost his shutout in the fifth inning when he got behind 2-0 and left a fastball up in the zone to Nick Goodwin, who drove the ball over the left-field fence. He gave way to left-hander Lucas Gordon to start the eighth inning and finished with a final line of 7.0 innings on 68 pitches with one earned run and eight hits allowed, as well as two strikeouts and zero walks.
With three strikeouts and one hit allowed over the final two innings, Gordon turned in the best outing of his young Longhorns career.
Texas goes for a second consecutive sweep in Big 12 play on Sunday with right-hander Kolby Kubichek (3-2, 2.91) taking the mound for the Longhorns against Wildcats right-hander Connor McCullough (2-2, 4.29) 1 p.m. Central on Longhorn Network.