Horns grind out win over UTPA, 5-4

In a game that lasted three hours and forty one minutes, Texas was able to get the 5-4 victory over UTPA thanks to timely hitting by Ben Johnson and Mark Payton.
AUSTIN — Johnson recorded his team-high fifth home run of the season, and freshman Morgan Cooper earned his fourth win of the season in relief, with sophomore John Curtiss getting the save at Disch Falk Field.

Junior Lukas Schiraldi started for the Horns, and gave up three earned on 3.1 IP. He was relieved by sophomore Travis Duke, who gave up a single run on 1 IP. The Broncs would be shut out the rest of the game thanks to a joint effort by Chad Hollingsworth, Ty Culbreth, Morgan Cooper and John Curtiss.

UTPA jumped on the board first, scoring on a fielder’s choice in the first, and a sacrifice fly in the second. Texas would respond with one run in the second when Johnson walked with the bases loaded, scoring freshman Zane Gurwitz.

UTPA would add its third run in the fourth on another fielder’s choice, and its fifth run would come in the fifth on a squeeze play. Texas came back in the bottom of the fifth when a Gurwitz single scored Collin Shaw. Sophomore C.J Hinojosa would score on a wild pitch to put the Horns down one.

Texas tied it in the sixth thanks to a solo shot into the leftfield bullpen by Johnson. The Horns scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth, with Brooks Marlow on second, Payton squared around to bunt twice but could not get it down. Forced to swing, Payton connected on a single that would plate Marlow.

Texas coach Augie Garrido was very proud of his team for being able to get a victory even though the game was played at a snail’s pace.

“Bottom line is we won the game,” Garrido said. “The momentum was shifted with Hollingsworth when he came in the game and nailed it down, and really set the tempo, that was the point of change for us.”

He would also say that these slow games are tough on teams.

“The tempo of the game was so slow and uneven, that created some difficulties I think,” he said. “The pitching really drove the momentum into our dugout and kept it there for the last half of the game.”

Garrido also talked about how Payton’s single was a positive, even though he struggled to get the bunt down.

“Sometimes it’s about overcoming your mistakes,” Garrido said. “The fact that Payton didn’t get the bunts down was a blessing in the end.”

Payton also talked about his go-ahead single.

“I was a little frustrated with myself not getting the bunt down and moving the guys over,” Payton said. “I got a pitch I could handle. It was a big win for us. This team has a lot of pride and a lot of heart in what we do.”

Texas hosts the Big 12 leading Oklahoma State Cowboys this weekend.