In a game where the Longhorns struggled to get their bats going, it was solid pitching, tactical substitutions, and one timely hit that allowed Texas to take down UT-Pan American, 2-1 in 11 innings thanks to a walk-off single by senior Jacob Felts. Junior Brooks Marlow recorded two of Texas’ four hits, and senior Nathan Thornhill earned the win in relief.
AUSTIN — Eight Texas pitchers combined to hold the Broncs to one run, beginning with sophomore starter John Curtiss, who pitched for the first time since the 2012 Big XII tournament. Josh Sawyer, Travis Duke, Blake Goins, Ty Culbreth, Chad Hollingsworth and Morgan Cooper each recorded one inning of work in relief of Curtiss. Thornhill worked three innings and struck out a game high four batters.
UTPA opened the scoring in the top of the third when Jesus Garcia singled up the middle scoring Michael Baca. That would be the only run until Texas tied it in the bottom of the ninth with an emptying of the bench for baserunners. Freshman Kacy Clemens began the inning with a walk and was replaced by Weston Hall. Hall reached second, and the Broncs decided to walk freshman Andy McGuire. Sophomore Jeremy Montalbano tried to lay a bunt down, but a great play by the catcher retired Hall at third. Montalbano was followed by freshman Tres Barrera, who walked to load the bases.
With one out, sophomore Ben Johnson skied a sacrifice fly to score pinch runner Madison Carter, who had replaced McGuire. Thornhill held off the Broncs for the next two innings, including a threat in the 10th. To save the game, Brooks Marlow made an outstanding sliding play to his left to prevent UTPA from scoring and keep the game going.
Texas began the bottom of the 11th with a walk from senior Alex Silver. Silver was sacrificed by Carter and advanced to third on a ground out by junior Collin Shaw. With two outs and the winning run 90 feet away, Felts came to the plate and delivered with a single to center. Texas coach Augie Garrido was proud of the way his team played against a tough opponent.
“It was about the end,” Garrido said. “We got into a rut and nothing really changed it until about the 8th inning or the 9th inning. They played the last two innings a lot differently than they did the earlier innings.”
Garrido said that even though his team had a rough day at the plate, it was a full team effort that earned the victory in the end.
“Runs determine the outcome, not the hits,” Garrido said. “Those guys have been on the rail in the dugout every inning of every game. They are totally committed in practice to the highest level of detail.”
Felts was excited that he could help his team out.
“I was thankful to get the opportunity,” he said. “It was a mixture of emotions. I just wanted to jump for joy. To do something that great doesn’t happen that often.”
Texas travels this weekend to play in the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park. They will face the Rice Owls on Friday, University of Houston on Saturday and Sam Houston State on Sunday.