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Solid Hitting Not Enough For Texas To Get The Job Done In Houston




By Joey Barrett


In what was a frustrating weekend at Minute Maid Park, the 23rd-ranked Texas Longhorns saw leads slip away on both Saturday and Sunday which, despite a superb performance by the Longhorn bats, led to a disappointing performance in the Astros Foundation College Classic.


Here’s how things all went down this weekend.

 

Game 1 (Friday): LSU 6 Texas 3

 

In front of nearly 25,000 fans at Minute Maid Park, the defending national champion LSU Tigers prevailed over the Longhorns in a big-time matchup to open up the weekend for both teams on Friday night.

 

Junior righthander Luke Holman got the start for LSU, while Lebarron Johnson, Jr. started for Texas. After both teams exchanged zeroes in the first three innings, the Tigers got on the board first, by way of a two-run single by junior shortstop Michael Braswell III. LSU then added to their lead in the seventh, thanks to a pair of home runs by junior third baseman Tommy White (a solo shot) and sophomore first baseman Jared Jones (a 3-run shot) to make it 6-0.

 

The Longhorns did not give up without a fight, though, as they responded with a home run of their own in the bottom of the seventh, catcher Kimble Schuessler hitting his second of the year to reduce the deficit to 6-1.

 

Texas added a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth, via a two-run double by designated hitter Casey Borba, before LSU junior righthander Fidel Ulloa came in to shut the door on the Longhorn offense, giving him the save and his Tigers the 6-3 win.

 

In the hits category, LSU was paced by Jones and Braswell, who had three and two hits respectively. Sophomore catcher Brady Neal and senior designated hitter Hayden Travinski had a double each, while White and outfielders Paxton Kling and Mac Bingham each tallied a hit as well.

 

For the Longhorns, third baseman Peyton Powell led the team with three hits on the night, while Borba, Schuessler, shortstop Jalin Flores, and outfielder Porter Brown recorded a hit apiece.

 

On the mound, Holman got the win for Tigers, throwing 5.2 shutout innings while striking out 12 batters and giving up only three hits. Johnson got the loss for Texas, going three innings and striking out six.

 

Game 2 (Saturday): Texas State 11 Texas 10

 

In a back-and-forth battle between two neighboring Central Texas teams, the Bobcats of Texas State prevailed over the Longhorns 11-10 on Saturday.

 

Texas State started things off fast in the top of the first with a leadoff home run by freshman outfielder Ryne Farber, and they later added on another run, in the form of junior outfielder Daylan Pena scoring on a wild pitch to give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead. In the next inning, sophomore second baseman Chase Mora would hit a grand slam to give Texas State a 6-0 lead after two innings

 

The Longhorns responded in the bottom of the third by taking advantage of Bobcats pitching and fielding mistakes, scoring three runs off a Flores sac fly, a throwing error that scored Thomas, and a Schuessler RBI sac fly, cutting the deficit in half to 6-3 Bobcats after two innings.

 

In the fourth, Farber drove in his second run of the game with a single that scored senior shortstop Davis Powell, increasing the Bobcats’ lead to 7-3. Texas again cut into the lead in the bottom of the fifth, by way of a pair of solo home runs by Flores and outfielder Max Belyeu, making the score 7-5 after five innings. In the top of the sixth, the Bobcats in turn responded with an RBI single by Mora, his fifth driven-in of the game, to make it 8-5 Texas State.

 

Texas took its first lead in the bottom of the seventh, after a Belyeu triple drove in Schuessler, and a pinch-hit three-run homer by senior first baseman Jack O’Dowd made it a 9-8 game in favor of the Longhorns.

 

Texas State then tied the game at 10 in the top of the eighth, after an RBI single by Farber, his third of the game, drove Powell in. Texas would reclaim the lead in the bottom half when Brown hit an absolute moonshot into the right field stands, making it 10-9 Longhorns.

 

After two outs began the top of the ninth, Pena singled to put the tying batter on base for the Bobcats. Immediately after that, Lugo hit a two-run homer into the Crawford Boxes to give Texas State the 11-10 lead. That ended up being enough for the Bobcats victory after the Longhorns grounded out and struck out twice in the bottom of the ninth.

 

For the Bobcats, Farber had three hits on the day, while Mora, Powell, Pena, and Lugo each had two. Nine different Longhorns had a hit, with Belyeu having two. Senior lefthander Jack Stroud got the start for Texas State while Charlie Hurley started for the Longhorns, both recording no decisions. Junior righthander Matthew Tippie got the win in relief for the Bobcats, while David Shaw ended up getting the loss for Texas.

 

The Longhorns and Bobcats play each other in a two-game midweek set April 9-10, with the first game in San Marcos and the second in Austin.

 

Game 3 (Sunday): Vanderbilt 14 Texas 11

 

A hot start at the plate turned out to not be enough for Texas, as the Vanderbilt Commodores scored eleven unanswered runs to beat the Longhorns 14-11 on the final day of the Astros Foundation College Classic.

 

Both teams started the scoring early in the first inning, with the Longhorns putting up a three spot in the top half, as a result of a Flores double that drove in Thomas and Schuessler’s second home run on the weekend, a two-run shot to left. The Commodores scored two runs of their own in the bottom half, by way of a two-run homer by senior catcher Alan Espinal.


Texas then kept adding on to their lead in the next two innings, with a solo home run by O’Dowd in the second and Brown’s first home run of the season in the third. Outfielder Will Gasparino then drove in two and later scored on a wild pitch to give the Longhorns a commanding 8-2 lead.

 

Vanderbilt cut the deficit to 8-3 in the bottom half of the third, on a sac fly by sophomore second baseman Jayden Davis that drove in junior shortstop Jonathan Vastine. The Longhorns responded in the top of the fourth with Brown’s second home run of the game and a sac fly by Gasparino that drove in Belyeu, giving the Longhorns an 11-3 lead.

 

The Commodores, however, were not wavered by this early deficit and responded with a barrage of scoring, with a pair of two-run fifth and sixth innings, a five-run seventh, and a two-run eighth. Vastine and freshman designated hitter Camden Kozeal both hit solo home runs in the fifth, while the sixth had an RBI double by senior outfielder Troy LaNeve and a Vastine groundout to score LaNeve, cutting the Longhorn lead to 11-7.

 

In the seventh, Vanderbilt tied the game after LaNeve cleared the bases with a triple, and then they finished the comeback by scoring on a sac fly by junior outfielder Matthew Polk that made it 12-11 Commodores. Vanderbilt later added on a pair of insurance runs in the eighth, on a two-run double by Kozeal, expannding the lead to 14-11, and that ended up the final score when Texas failed to respond in the top of the ninth.

 

At the plate, Vanderbilt was led by Kozeal, who had four hits on the day, drove in three, and was a triple shy of recording a cycle. LaNeve, Vastine, Espinal, and junior third baseman Davis Diaz each had two hits, while Davis, sophomore first baseman RJ Austin, and senior outfielder Calvin Hewett also had one hit apiece.

 

For the Longhorns, Flores had three hits, while Brown, Schuessler, Belyeu, and O’Dowd all had two hits on the day. Thomas, Powell, Gasparino, and Borba all had a hit as well.

 

On the mound, junior righty Sawyer Hawks got the win for Vanderbilt, with junior lefty Ryan Ginther recording his second save of the season for the Commodores. Grant Fontenot took the loss for Texas. The win gives Vanderbilt a sweep on the weekend and an overall 10-3 record on the season, while the loss drops the Longhorns to 7-4 and 0-3 in the tournament.

 

What’s next?

 

The Longhorns return to Disch Falk Field on Tuesday night for a big midweek battle with their heated rival and future SEC opponent, the sixth-ranked Aggies of Texas A&M,

before heading up to Lubbock to begin Big 12 play on Friday night against Texas Tech.


*****

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