After a 1-2-3 inning from right-hander Ty Madden to start the game, the No. 3 Texas Longhorns turned the screws on the Abilene Christian Wildcats with five runs in the bottom of the inning and never relented, scoring five again in the third and posting runs in each inning the Longhorns went to bat in the 18-0 win on Friday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
The 18 runs marked the most for the program since May 23, 2010 to improve to 28-8 on the season and 20-2 at home as Texas won an 11th straight game.
Madden earned his fifth win of the season with a strong performance that featured eight strikeouts in only 5.0 innings as head coach David Pierce opted to rest the team’s ace after he qualified for the win. In Madden’s last six appearances, he’d thrown 94 or more pitches in each start, including 117 pitches against Baylor on April 1.
The short outing for Madden allowed Pierce to get some work for the back end of his bullpen as right-hander Coy Cobb, right-hander Jared Southard, left-hander Caden Noah, and right-hander Drew Shifflet maintained the shutout and allowed only one hit as each pitched a single inning.
With Lucas Gordon currently the only left-hander trusted by Pierce in high-leverage situations, the debut of Noah’s new slider could rank as a significant development — it looked like a swing-and-miss pitch as the freshman struck out two hitters in his first appearance since late February against BYU.
Center fielder Mike Antico continued his strong stretch at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a walk and three runs scored. Five other players had two hits as well, including right fielder Douglas Hodo III, who homered for a second consecutive day with a solo shot in the fourth inning.
Designated hitter Ivan Melendez added a base knock of his own to stretch his hitting streak to 11 games.
With the lead at 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning, Pierce made mass substitutions, replacing seven players in the lineup to clear his bench. After playing well last weekend when shortstop Trey Faltine was ejected in the opener against Kansas State, Murphy Stehly was good once again, going 2-for-3 with three RBI, including a two-run double in the seventh inning. Faltine left the game after a one-run double in the seventh.
Texas returns to the field at 2:30 p.m. Central on Longhorn Network as right-hander Tristan Stevens (5-1, 2.98) takes the mound against Abilene Christian right-hander Genner Cervantes (5-1, 5.18).