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Aaron Carrara

With LSU Looming, Texas Baseball Goes 1-1 in Midweek Games (by Travis Hlavinka)

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Photo: @texasbaseball

By Travis Hlavinka

With the season’s toughest task yet looming ahead this coming weekend against LSU, the Texas Longhorns needed to iron out some of the kinks during their midweek games against Sam Houston State and UTSA.

The results weren’t what the team hoped for as the team beat SHSU on Tuesday night, but dropped Wednesday night’s game against UTSA after building up a 6-run lead.

On Tuesday, Texas found its hitting stroke. Down by three runs going into the bottom of the fifth inning, the Longhorns hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back doubles by some middle-of-the-order veterans in senior DJ Petrinsky, redshirt sophomore Zach Zubia, junior Ryan Reynolds and senior Tate Shaw to lead off the inning.

“It’s awesome to see all the guys jump around,” Zubia said. “When you have back-to-back-to-back-to-back doubles, I mean that’s crazy. I’ve never seen that in baseball ever. And it was just really fun to keep trading places with everyone.”

Capped off by a 2-run single from junior Austin Todd, Texas would score a total of six runs in the fifth inning. The momentum didn’t stop there, though, as the Longhorn bats would go on to pile on another four runs in the sixth inning. Shaw would play another factor in the sixth as he smacked an RBI single that would put the game out of reach.

Combined with some lights out relief from freshman Ty Madden (4.0 innings pitched, one hit allowed, one earned run, seven strikeouts), Texas cruised to a lopsided 10-3 victory over the Bearkats.

Wednesday, Texas brought the sticks again, however, the end result was vastly different. During its game against the UTSA Roadrunners, Texas was the team that built an early lead. In the first inning, Texas put eight men on. Back-to-back RBI singles Reynolds and Shaw would make it a 3-run first.

Texas’ bats would follow suit in the third inning as Zubia led off with a solo home run that just found its way over the short-porch in left. Reynold’s cleaned up after Zubia with a double to right, and Shaw hit his first home run since 2017 way out to right-center.

The 6-run lead wouldn’t last long as an error-filled top half of the fifth would plate eight runs for the Roadrunners. Nothing seemed to go right for the Texas infield as three different players had errors that contributed to the madness.

“It just came down to one inning where we just let it unravel,” head coach David Pierce said. “We just didn’t take care of the ball and we gave them everything. You get beat when that happens.”

Starter freshman Owen Meaney, who was pulled after three innings, was the only relative consistency Texas brought to mound on Wednesday night. He was hitless and scoreless in his appearance, but Pierce made the decision to pull him due to the runners he put aboard.

“(Meaney) had three free passes, and I’m not going to put up with free passes,” Pierce said. “We’re going to have to learn to pound the strike zone. They didn’t hit a single home run tonight. We gave them everything. As long as they go out there and do that, they’re not going to pitch.”

Six Texas pitchers combined for seven innings of work on Wednesday, and the outcome was as Pierce described it. The combination walked a total 10 batters and, in contrast to earlier games this season, struggled to get quality results.

UTSA would tack on two more runs to end the game by a score of 10-6.

Hopefully this was just an instance of getting the bumps out of the way, as Texas will face the No. 2 team in the country this weekend as LSU comes to Disch-Falk Field for a three game series. First pitch on Friday is set for 6:30 P.M.

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