Tuesday baseball thoughts: 9-5 win over Lamar

Texas Baseball singing The Eyes of Texas after defeating Lamar (Joe Cook/IT)

Texas Baseball singing The Eyes of Texas after defeating Lamar (Joe Cook/IT)

Texas put up nine runs by consistently putting the ball in play, with some runs coming with help from the Cardinals.

9 inning box
……….. 1 2 3 — 4 5 6 — 7 8 9 — R H E
Lamar 0 3 0 — 0 0 0 — 2 0 0 — 5 7 1
Texas 0 2 2 — 0 3 0 — 1 1 X — 9 9 0

Texas scoring:
2nd inning – Sophomore catcher Brian McCann’s RBI single brought home senior first baseman Kacy Clemens. The next at bat, freshman shortstop David Hamilton’s sacrifice fly brought home another Texas run to make it 3-2 LU.

3rd inning – Texas would take the lead for good off a moonshot to right field from junior second baseman Bret Boswell.

5th inning – Freshman third baseman Ryan Reynolds advanced to home on a balk. Junior left fielder Travis Jones ripped a single to score Kacy Clemens. The seventh Texas run would cross home when Boswell scored as a result of an E2 when Jones was attempting to steal second

7th inning – Jones’ triple brought home Boswell from first.

8th inning – Sophomore designated hitter Kody Clemens singled home Hamilton to ice it.

Texas pitching:
Sophomore Connor Mayes: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 K
Sophomore Nick Kennedy: 1.1 IP, H, K
Sophomore Beau O’Hara: 2 IP, H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
Sophomore Beau Ridgeway: 2 IP, H, 2 K

Call and response:
Texas dropped behind early, and last year this team would have likely struggled to produce. That did not happen tonight, as McCann (who is now 5-for-9 on the year) capitalized on a bases loaded situation to put Texas right back in the ball game. David Hamilton, who has only struck out four times in 27 at bats this season, has a BABIP of just 0.83. However, the freshman was able to deliver another run to help the Horns creep back into the game, and earn praise from David Pierce post game.

Texas responded later in the game, this time with the lead. After Lamar’s Stefanos Panayiotou hit a pinch hit home run to cut the Texas lead to two in the seventh, the Horns responded with Jones’ two out triple. It made sure Lamar would not creep back into the game, and Kody Clemens’ eighth inning single iced almost any chance for the Cardinals with the way Beau Ridgeway pitched.

Speaking of pitching, the all sophomore platoon fared pretty well on the evening. Mayes still only has one pitch that is effective (his fastball), so Tuesday games are great spots for him to continue to work on his stuff. Kennedy performed well, and aside from the home run, O’Hara pitched a solid two innings. Ridgeway had one single hit and continued to perform well in late inning situations.

The team now heads to Palo Alto to take on No. 19 Stanford in a four game set beginning on Thursday.

David Pierce
On how the team looks before its first road trip: “Sunday was a great confidence builder and I thought we did a really good job of feeding off of that tonight. I thought it was great to see, not get behind 3-0, but the way we responded. We never panicked and we continued to have quality at bats and we got the results.

On insurance runs: “Play the game to its entirety. We continued to hit. We continued to have quality at bats. We continued to create action with hit-and-runs and moving runners. Some guys just stepped in the box and came up big. I thought Travis Jones’ triple was a huge confidence builder for him, but it was also a big run for us.

On what he wants to see on the road trip: “That’s a good question. I think we want to go out there and compete really well. It’s going to be something new for us as a team going on a four game series. Also, we have to be very good at transition from turf to grass. That’s something we’re going to have to prepare for tomorrow night in our workout, and that’s why we go a day early and get familiar with the park. We’re playing a very good, very competitive Stanford team. We’re going to have to pitch and play defense to do well out there. Offensively, you want to build off of this. We know it’s going to be tight games out there. We just want to continue to have quality at bats and really be very consistent defensively and on the mound.

On Nick Kennedy: “He was awesome. It was great for Nick because he works so hard and he’s so deserving of it. We’re just trying to build his trust in himself and not overthrow. When he’s relaxed, he still throws 92 to 93. The greatest thing that happened for Nick tonight is he got a ground ball double-play with a change-up, and that’s something him and Coach Haig have been working very hard with. We had an outing two Wednesdays ago where his entire outing in an intrasquad was nothing but change-ups. That helps him relax. For him to execute that in the game was huge.”

On bullpen roles: “I don’t think so yet. I think we’re still trying to formulate our bullpen. There’s some match ups, but a lot of it is guys that come in and compete, keep the ball down and attack the strike zone. That’s why Beau Ridgeway is so reliable. He’s going to throw strikes, he’s going to have a little sink on the ball, and they’re going to have to earn it against him. That’s the quality outing that we need. Nick is a confidence builder for the team. Beau O’Hara will be back. We weren’t in a situation where we wanted to use Chase [Shugart] because Beau was so good, and that’s what we’ve talked about. We’re not just going to go from the eighth to the ninth from a setup to a closer when we’ve got a guy getting it done. Its college baseball and I’ve just seen that so many times where it bites you. You’ve got a hot hand and you stick with it.”

On David Hamilton: “We have. We talked a lot, but he got a new haircut and we’re trying everything. The kid is resilient. He’s quiet. He doesn’t look like he’s got that toughness to him, but I’m telling you he’s a tough kid. He’s fighting it right now. He’s just got to continue to play defense and trust himself. Zane Gurwitz is another one. Zane was 0-for-5 with four balls he hit really well on the screws. They just have got to stick with it. They had quality at bats tonight. That’s all that they can do.”

On Michael McCann: “For me the offense is a bonus with Michael McCann. We need his security behind the plate. Going into tonight, I wanted to split the game and let Michael [Cantu] rest a little bit. McCann, he’s giving them fits at home plate. He gets in the box with a very compact approach, with a lot of confidence, so it’s great to see.”

On if this offensive approach can succeed on the road: “There’s no doubt. We’re starting to get confidence in swinging the bat with authority. It’s not just driving the ball out of the ballpark, but we’re benefiting from that. The ball Travis hit in the gap for a triple was hit as hard as any ball on the night. We want to be able to do things in multiple ways, and I think tonight was an example of that.”

On learning about his team on the road: “You really do. For us, we need to go into that sunken diamond and understand it’s a different environment. We’ve got to get accustomed to the facility. We’re playing a very good team, so I think you get your first taste of how your team is going to be that visitor and the crowd is completely against you. You’re backs could get against the wall. You really have an opportunity to win and come together and really create some chemistry you don’t quite get at home.”

Bret Boswell
On the HR: “That felt great. Right when I put the swing on it, it’s one of those you don’t even feel it off the bat. I just watched it go and it was just a great feeling”

On what’s working: “Being able to go up there relaxed. I’m pitching up pitches a lot faster, pretty much almost right out of the pitcher’s hand. When I’m relaxed I can see that easily and I’m not thinking about too much. It just makes it a lot easier. My swing is a lot easier.”

On facing multiple pitchers throughout the evening: “It’s tough. You really can’t prepare for that. What you’ve got to do is watch them in the dugout and watch them when you’re on deck. You’ve got to get your timing down before you’re in there because you’ll see the guy once then you’ll see the new guy next time. It’s tough, but you’ve got to just prepare for it.”