It’s not 2019 any more for the Texas Longhorns baseball program.
A little less than three years since head coach David Pierce’s team suffered an ignominious 8-2 loss to the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders at Whataburger Field, the No. 1-ranked Longhorns stormed down to the Gulf Coast for a resounding 14-2 win on Tuesday evening.
The 2019 team that finished 27-27 with an abysmal .250 batting average is unquestionably a distant memory as the 2022 version of Texas baseball continued performing at a high level in virtually every phase of the game.
Five pitchers, led by right-hander Andre Duplantier in his first career start for the Horns, combined to shutout Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on two hits with 12 strikeouts.
Duplantier went four innings, allowing one hit with three strikeouts and two walks. Right-hander Travis Sthele followed with two innings of his own, striking out four of the six batters he faced. Fellow right-handers Lebarron Johnson Jr., Zane Morehouse, and Marcus Olivares all followed with scoreless innings, allowing a single hit with five combined strikeouts.
Though there wasn’t a radar gun on the live stream from Corpus Christi, all five pitchers showed fastballs capable of generating swings and misses, located the ball well, and flashed effective secondary pitches, though each proved capable of attacking TAMU-CC hitters with their fastball.
With MLB scouts in attendance, right-hander Hayden Thomas received the start for the Islanders and the Longhorns were able to take advantage of some early jitters to score two runs in the first inning. Center fielder Douglas Hodo III doubled to start the game, left fielder Eric Kennedy lashed a single to left field, and second baseman’s infield single scored Hodo from third before right fielder Austin Todd’s sacrifice fly brought home Kennedy.
The Longhorns left the bases loaded in the third inning, but battled in the fourth to drive Thomas from the game despite two quick outs to start the frame. After singles by Hodo and Kennedy, first baseman Ivan Melendez was hit by a pitch, driving Thomas from the game after throwing 89 pitches. Second baseman Mitchell Daly, catcher Silas Ardoin, and Todd then each drew full-count walks as Texas took a 5-0 lead.
Third baseman Skyler Messinger drove in two more runs in the sixth inning with a triple before the Horns added four more runs on four hits in the seventh and a run driven in by Melendez on a double in the eighth.
Hodo finished 3-of-6 with his first three-hit game for Texas and Kennedy, Melendez, Daly, and Todd each added two hits of their own. Todd and Ardoin each had three RBi.
Texas returns to action on Wednesday against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 4:05 p.m. Central.