Texas rallies back after UT-RGV’s opening salvo, 9-7

UFCU Disch-Falk Field (Joe Cook/IT)

UFCU Disch-Falk Field (Joe Cook/IT)

Before Texas even had the chance to bat, hope for the Horns looked lost and they seemed destined to receive crushing yet unique losses on back-to-back nights. But their first at bat gave them some hope and their second at bat put them right back in the game. Texas took advantage of two major middle inning UT Rio Grande Valley mistakes to take the lead and senior Jon Malmin silenced RGV bats in a career best performance, earning the win in Texas’ 9-7 victory.

Malmin entered the game after junior Connor Mayes’ disastrous 0.1 inning performance in which he was charged all seven of RGV’s runs. Mayes never was able to control the ball and any ball over the plate was put into play by RGV hitters. Malmin, normally a lefty specialist out of the pen, went on to throw set multiple career bests in innings pitched (6.2), walks allowed (0), strikeouts (7) and batters faced (24).

The Longhorns began to chip away at the RGV lead in the first after junior second baseman Bret Boswell hit a two-run home run. Texas made it much closer in the second when they plated four runs. Freshman Ryan Reynolds smacked his own two-run home run to cut the lead to three and freshman Tate Shaw delivered his own RBI single to cut the lead to two. It would become a one run game after Boswell’s second RBI single scored Shaw.

Texas took the lead in the fifth inning thanks to two key RGV mistakes. With runners on first and second, freshman Austin Todd appeared to have flied to center for the second out of the inning. However, the Vaquero pitcher was ruled to have balked and the Texas runners advanced into scoring position. The mistake hurt RGV immediately, as Shaw brought home the tying run with a sacrifice fly.

The Vaqueros could have exited the fifth with the game tied, but an error by the RGV left fielder with two outs on a fly ball to the warning track brought home the go-ahead run and gave Texas a lead they would not surrender. For good measure, Texas added their ninth run in the seventh when sophomore Kody Clemens had an RBI single of his own.

Freshman Beau O’Hara relieved Malmin after his dominant performance, but only lasted one batter and was relieved by sophomore Beau Ridgeway. Ridgeway earned a two pitch strikeout, and only gave up one hit and struck out four on his way to a two-inning save.

Opening statement: “A terrible start and we were able to identify some guys. Jon Malmin really stepped up in the bullpen, went 6.2, had great stuff and got more and more confident. That’s why he continued to stay in the game. Offensively I think it was really big for us to get two runs early – to bounce right back – and then put four more and at that point there was a lot of confidence with the offense. Defensively, we continue to play really well. David Hamilton is making every play right now. Just a lot of good things.”

On Malmin: “He showed signs of that in the fall and early spring. He’s just got to stay locked in. He’s a kid that hasn’t had a lot of innings. He’s got good stuff, he can help us from the left side, he’s got a great move and controls the runners. We just need to see more of that, and it was great to see it tonight.”

On Mayes: “I haven’t talked to him yet. It’s an emotional time for him. He’s just got to build his confidence back up. We’ve got a few guys that are in that category. As we’re trying to play opponents and win games, we’ve got to really try to build some confidence back in some other guys.”

After last night and then the first inning: “A very emotional weekend against Tech, then you come back and get your day rest. Then it’s a dogfight at Texas State. To lose the way we did, there was a lot of dejection, and then to start the way we did. Every intent was to come back and right the ship today. Our guys did a nice job of just chipping away. It was a pretty awful feeling in the first being down seven after the previous four games.”

On what stood out: “I think they did do some things that were business as usual. They really never got overwhelmed when we were down early. That’s a big sign for us. We haven’t done a good job early in the season of just working back and winning games. We did a great job of doing that tonight. I think the resiliency and some leadership, and some guys just stepping in and doing their job having good solid at bats was huge.”

On the bullpen: “Right now [Beau Ridgeway] really is [a dependable guy]. We’ve got some other guys like a Tyler Schimpf that’s got some really good stuff that’s getting closer. Kevin Rolliard is getting closer. Beau’s our guy to guy right now and he’s a dependable guy.”

On Wednesday games following emotional Tuesdays: “The way this one started, for us to come out on top was really huge after last night. Now we rest tomorrow, we have a short workout and we get ready for a tough Kansas State team.”

On entering the game: “I actually went down [to the bullpen] and had to get hot pretty quick. When I got in the game, I actually didn’t know that they scored six runs. I thought it was a lot less than that. I looked up there and was like ‘crap.’ I just had a good opportunity to go in there and compete.”

On career performance: “Slider was working really good, but it kind of just felt like high school again. I was probably 120 pitches a game in high school. That’s just what we did. It was fun and you were throwing. That’s kind of how it felt tonight. It just worked, it felt good and it was fun to be out there.”

On getting the win: “It’s nice and it’s nice to be able to make a comeback like that. Obviously we were down in some of the Tech games and we didn’t have a lot of good things going for us, so it was nice to get the guys rallying and comeback like that and get a big win against a team that wants to come in here and play Texas and can really come in here and upset us. That was nice coming off the Texas State loss, too.”

On his stuff throughout the night: “The only way I can speak about that is high school because that’s the only time I’ve ever thrown this many pitches. In high school, I was always same velocity. I’d even get a little more velocity as the game went on. I think getting in a groove and finding a good way to do things. That’s pretty much what it was, and I throw a lot and I think if you ask the guys, I have kind of a rubber arm. I’ll probably be long tossing tomorrow. It’s just something I do. My arm bounces back pretty well.”