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No. 22 Texas smashes Texas Southern, 12-2

The Longhorns scored four runs in the first and five runs in the fourth thanks to a barrage of extra-base hits.

Texas baseball

The No. 22 Texas Longhorns held down the nation’s leader in run per game and steals, blasting the Texas Southern Tigers 12-2 on Tuesday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in the first game of a five-game homestand to end the regular season.

Texas scored four runs in the first inning, two runs in the second inning, five runs in the fourth inning, and one run in the eighth inning behind seven total doubles in the game, as well as a triple and home run by third baseman Skyler Messinger and catcher Silas Ardoin, who went 2-for-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Messinger went 4-for-5 with three RBIs and right fielder Murphy Stehly also had an impressive day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a walk, three RBIs, and two runs scored.

Texas took the lead quickly in the first inning. After left-hander Luke Harrison faced the minimum thanks to an inning-ending double play, center fielder Douglas Hodo III doubled into the left-center gap and designated hitter Austin Todd drove him home with a line drive up the middle. Todd advanced to second on the throw to the plate and scored on a single to right field by right fielder Murphy Stehly. Catcher Silas Ardoin made it 4-0 with a two-run home run to left field, his 10th of the season.

The offensive onslaught continued in the second when first baseman Ivan Melendez doubled on a line drive the left fielder couldn’t come up with, scoring shortstop Trey Faltine, who had doubled to the wall in left-center earlier in the inning.

Melendez came around to score himself on a double down the third-base line by Stehly, the fifth double through 1.2 innings for the Longhorns.

Harrison got into his first jam in the third inning, allowing a single up the middle and a double to left center and surpassing his total number of pitches from the first two innings by the third batter he faced in the third. The Texas left-hander bounced back with two strikeouts, but the second strikeout resulted in a run following the throw to first when the runner stole home. Initially ruled out, the inning continued with Texas Southern on the board after the call was overturned.

Right-hander Marcus Olivarez replaced Harrison and quickly ended the inning before facing the minimum in the fourth after allowing a two-out walk and then picking the runner off first base.

Texas had another big inning in the fourth. Hodo singled and Todd and Melendez followed by drawing walks before Stehly singled home Hodo. A double into left center by Ardoin drove in two runs as the first six batters in the inning reached base when third baseman Skyler Messinger singled up the middle to plate two more runs. The streak finally ended when left fielder Dylan Campbell hit a ball hard to the Texas Southern second baseman that turned into a double play with the Texas lead at 11-1.

On the mound, right-hander Jared Southard pitched two heartening innings, striking out four and allowing only one hit, a positive development for the Austin-area product after failing to record an out in his last appearance against Oklahoma State.

Right-hander Lebarron Johnson Jr. wasn’t quite as successful in the seventh, allowing a wind-aided two-out double and then a run on another double. On an ensuing single up the middle, the runner tried to score from second when second baseman Mitchell Daly was able to come up with the baseball, but shortstop Trey Faltine made a strong throw to the plate to end the inning. In the eighth, Johnson set down the Tigers with a 1-2-3 inning.

To start the ninth inning, right-hander Aaron Nixon allowed an infield single and two stolen bases, but was able to keep Texas Southern from scoring with better fastball command than he’s shown in a number of outings over the last two months.

Texas has a week off for finals before returning to the Disch next Tuesday to face Sam Houston.