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Texas Rides Late Rallies For Series Win Over San Diego, High Note 2024 Start

Updated: Feb 19

By Joey Barrett

It was an exciting weekend of baseball in the Lone Star State, as the #14 Texas Longhorns hosted the San Diego Toreros of the West Coast Conference. The Longhorns ended up taking the series against Toreros, but San Diego proved to be a very worthy challenge for the boys in burnt orange. I was there for all three games at UFCU Disch-Falk Field which I will detail below.

Game 1 (Friday): Longhorns 7, Toreros 4

​In front of a sold-out crowd of 7,935 at the Disch, the Longhorns, powered by a sixth inning grand slam by sophomore shortstop Jalin Flores, rallied late to take the first game of the 2024 season 9-4.

The Toreros struck first in the top of the third, where senior third baseman Jack Costello drove in two runs on a single to left, giving San Diego a 2-0 lead. The Longhorns then responded in the bottom of the fourth with both the first collegiate hit (a single) and RBI by freshman designated hitter Nik Sanders, driving in redshirt senior outfielder Porter Brown to cut the Longhorns’ deficit to 2-1.

After a fifth inning where both teams exchanged zeros, the sixth inning led to more runs being scored with the Toreros collecting one from an RBI single by junior outfielder Austin Smith, extending their lead to 3-1. In the bottom half, the Longhorns responded with a five-spot, which was led by sophomore first baseman Jared Thomas’ RBI single to right and Flores’ grand slam, giving the Longhorns the lead for the first time in 2024.

Senior third baseman Peyton Powell tripled to right field in the bottom of the eighth, driving in junior catcher Kimble Schuessler to add an insurance run and make it 7-3 Longhorns. San Diego then staged a late rally in the top of the ninth, before junior left-handed pitcher David Shaw shut the door with two strikeouts to end the game, giving the Longhorns a 7-4 win on opening day.

At the plate, the Toreros were led by Smith, who had three hits and an RBI on the night. Junior shortstop Justin DeCriscio, senior outfielder Dustin Allen, and junior catcher Ariel Armas all had two hits while Costello had one 2 RBI hit. For the Longhorns, Flores had two hits (including the grand slam) while Thomas and Powell each had a pair of hits and drove in a run.

On the mound, the Toreros started junior right hander Josh Randall, who went four innings and struck out four batters while giving up only one unearned run. For the Longhorns, returning All-American redshirt junior Lebarron Johnson Jr was the starter, where he went five innings and struck out six.

​Sophomore right hander Max Grubbs got the win for Texas in relief while senior right hander Alex Schrier was the losing pitcher for San Diego. This put the Longhorns at 1-0 on the young season while the Toreros are 0-1.

Game 2 (Saturday): Toreros 6, Longhorns 5 (11 Innings)

In what was a cold and windy afternoon at the Disch, the Toreros prevailed in an extra innings showdown to even the series up with a 6-5 victory to make their debut in the win column for the 2024 season.

San Diego wasted no time to begin their scoring in the top of the first inning, where a groundout by senior outfielder Angelo Peraza drove in Allen to give the Toreros an early 1-0 lead. The Longhorns then responded in the bottom of the third with a three-run homer by Powell, his first of the year, to give Texas a 3-1 lead.

After a scoreless fourth inning, the Toreros put together a rally in the top of the fifth where they scored on a sac fly by Peraza before Longhorn freshman right hander Heston Tolle, in his first taste of collegiate action, stranded the potential tying and go ahead runs by inducing a groundout to Thomas to end the Toreros’ half of the fifth. In the top of the seventh, San Diego tied things up at three via a groundout by Costello, which scored Allen.

The game ended up going to extra innings after eighth and ninth inning rallies by the Longhorns fell short, with the Toreros landing the first punch in the top of the tenth inning by way of a pinch-hit two-run homer by sophomore second baseman Ryan Ward to give the Toreros a 5-3 lead. The Longhorns then responded in the bottom half with an RBI single by Powell, his fourth of the game, and a pinch-hit RBI sac fly by sophomore Jayden Duplantier to even things up at five to send the game to the eleventh inning.

In the top of the eleventh, San Diego had a couple base hits before executing a double steal where Allen scored that gave them a 6-5 lead. The Longhorns, with one last opportunity at the plate in the bottom of the eleventh, put the tying run on base via a pinch-hit single by junior outfielder Casey Cummings before an improbable 7-3 double play ended the game, giving San Diego the 6-5 victory.

Hitting-wise, San Diego was led by Allen, who had five hits on the day including one double. Costello and sophomore first baseman Jack Gurevitch both had two hits while Peraza drove in two runs in hard-working fashion. Texas was led by Powell where he homered, singled, and drove in four runs. Thomas had another multi-hit game, having three hits including a double.

On the mound, San Diego started freshman right hander Logan Reddemann, who struck out four in five innings pitched in his collegiate debut while Texas started senior right hander Charlie Hurley, who went 3.2 innings. Smith got the win in relief for the Toreros while freshman right hander Cole Selvig was the losing pitcher for the Longhorns. San Diego’s Vaughn Mauterer got the Toreros’ first save of the season with both teams being 1-1 heading into the rubber match.

Game 3 (Sunday): Longhorns 9, Toreros 4

​In a game filled with walks on both sides, the Longhorns overcame a slow start and managed to run away with a 9-4 series-clinching victory in front of the third sold out crowd of the weekend at the Disch.

As with the first two games, San Diego opened the scoring in the top of the second. A pair of runs scoring via bases-loaded walks to take an early 2-0 lead led to Texas starter Tanner Witt leaving the game after facing just six batters. The Longhorns scored their first run in the bottom of the third through a double steal, when Powell stole second while Thomas stole home and scored, making it 2-1 Toreros. Texas then tied the game at two in the bottom of the fourth, on a Jayden Duplantier sac fly that drove in Brown.

The Toreros responded back in the top of the fifth by scoring on a fielding error by Longhorn right hander Cody Howard that brought Decriscio home, giving San Diego a 3-2 lead. From there, the Longhorn offense went to work and never looked back, as they made Torrero pitching pay for their mistakes by generating walks and timely hitting, leading to a three-run fifth, a one-run sixth, and a three-run seventh that kicked the door open and gave the Longhorns a 9-3 lead after seven innings.

San Diego put pressure on the Longhorns by adding a run in the eighth and loading the bases in the ninth, before Shaw came in to finish the job. He stranded the loaded bases, giving the Longhorns a 9-4 victory and the series win on opening weekend.

​Offensively, Gurevitch and Decriscio had two hits apiece, while senior third baseman Will Worthington drove in a pair of runs for the Toreros. For the Longhorns, eight starters recorded hits with Duplantier and Powell driving in two runs apiece.

​Pitching-wise, San Diego started redshirt junior right hander Ryan Kysar, who threw four innings and struck out five. For the Longhorns, Witt started before leaving early where Howard filled in from there, giving up only one unearned run in four innings while recording the win.

What’s Next?

The Longhorns play again Tuesday night, as they host the Houston Christian Huskies, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:30 PM and a broadcast on the Longhorn Network. After that, the Cal Poly Mustangs come in for a three-game series starting Friday at the Disch. The Toreros return to the Golden State to play at UC Irvine on Tuesday, before coming back home to host a three-game set of their own with the Arizona Wildcats beginning Friday night.


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