After taking the Houston College Classic title this past weekend, the Longhorns kept their winning streak going against Valparaiso, 7-1. Freshman Blake Goins earned the win as part of a seven-man pitching effort, starting and going three innings, allowing only one hit.
AUSTIN — Sophomore Ben Johnson was the hot hand for the Horns, going 2-for-3 with two hits and two RBIs. Texas began it’s scoring early putting up three runs in the first inning off of Crusader starter and pitcher of record, Dalton Lundeen. With senior Mark Payton on third and sophomore C.J Hinojosa on first, freshman first baseman Kacy Clemens dropped down a sacrifice bunt that scored Payton. An error by Lundeen allowed Clemens to reach first. After being moved up thanks to a fielder’s choice, Johnson singled through the left side to score both Hinojosa and Clemens.
Goins recorded 2.2 perfect innings before allowing his first hit. He would get himself in and out of a bases loaded jam, allowing him to earn his first career win as a result. He would be relieved by freshman Josh Sawyer, who would allow the only run of the game in the top of the fourth. Chad Hollingsworth, Ty Culbreth, Jon Malmin, Ty Marlow, who made his season debut and John Curtiss would shut out the Crusaders the rest of the game.
Texas would score again in the fourth when Collin Shaw grounded out, allowing Johnson to score the first of his two runs. They would put up three more in a two-out rally in the fifth when senior Jacob Felts doubled, scoring Clemens from first. Ben Johnson would walk, and freshman Tres Barrera would single to bring Felts home. Johnson advanced to third on the throw with Barrera advancing to second. Freshman Andy McGuire would bring in the seventh of Texas’ seven when he knocked in Johnson on a fielder’s choice.
Head coach Augie Garrido said that Johnson’s performance tonight may have not even happened had he not made a mistake before the game. Garrido said that he gave the wrong lineup to the scoreboard operator and to the umpires than the one he had planned on using, placing Johnson in the six hole.
“I like having Ben bat eighth or ninth so they can score from first on a double,” Garrido said. “All a sudden I come back from the umpire’s meeting and I see on the board he’s batting sixth. Now he comes up and drives in two runs out of the six-hole.”
Garrido also said that his team settled in after the three-run first.
“I think the three runs loosened everyone up as it usually does,” he said. “You’ll see me always trying to get as many runs as we can in the early innings. We had some other really good innings along the way.”
Goins said that the cold, 46 degrees at first-pitch, did not affect his outing. He also touched on how the team has been playing extremely well lately.
“I got in there and did my normal routine and did a couple of extra sprints then got after it,” Goins said. “The mentality of this whole program in general has completely changed around. We’re here to fight and win and to win at everything.”
Texas takes on the University of Hawaii in a four-game set, with a doubleheader on Saturday.