AUSTIN — On Thursday, head coach Augie Garrido said that his team avoided “the weird” in their win over the TCU Horned Frogs. The Texas Longhorns avoided “the weird” again on Friday, taking game two over the Frogs 2-0 in a game that lasted only two hours and 14 minutes.
Senior Ty Culbreth earned the win and sophomore Connor Mayes recorded his second save of the weekend helping the Horns to clinch the series over the sixth ranked Horned Frogs.
There was only one scoring frame in the game, and it belonged to the Longhorns. In the sixth, freshman Tyler Rand singled to center field and stole second. Sophomore Travis Jones singled to move him to third. Junior Kacy Clemens grounded into a double play, but Rand was able to score. Texas doubled the size of the lead the very next pitch when junior Tres Barrera sent a ball over the left center field fence for his second home run of the season.
Culbreth turned in another solid outing, throwing six and a third shutout innings, allowing four hits, walking three and striking out three. He was relieved by a three man lineup who have all been extremely effective this series, combining for two and two thirds perfect innings to close out the game. Freshman Chase Shugart relieved Culbreth in the seventh, forcing two ground outs. Then, junior Josh Sawyer struck out the side in the eighth, and sophomore Connor Mayes sat the Frogs down in order to end the game.
After struggling with defense for much of the season, Texas’ veteran led infield played another great game. Barrera made a diving stop to prevent a double from happening in the third, and a barehanded stop by junior Zane Gurwitz in the eighth were two highlight plays that were pivotal to Texas holding on to the lead.
Garrido said that his team needed some encouragement during the game in order to keep focused.
“We didn’t lose confidence in ourselves at the plate,” Garrido said. “We went through one little stretch for about six outs where we were trying too hard, and we gave them a reminder in the dugout.”
Garrido also mentioned how important pitching coach Skip Johnson has been with the success the back end of the Longhorn bullpen has enjoyed.
“I think Skip has really got a feel now for where the pitchers are and how to use them,” Garrido said. “He’s got Shugart not trying to throw 97 mph because he can. I think he really understands the pitchers much better.”
Culbreth was quick to compliment his defense.
“The defense played outstanding,” Culbreth said. “They helped me out so much today. I got in a few jams, the play Tres made, which would have been a double down the line, was a game changer. The double play with the bases loaded, that was a huge game changer which helped me keep momentum the rest of the game instead of possibly being down three or four runs. They helped out a lot. My goal is to keep my team in the game as long as possible. They helped me out. I did my part.”
Culbreth was engaged in a pitcher’s duel throughout his outing. Brian Howard, the 6’9” TCU starter, tossed a complete game and allowed only five hits in a losing effort. For Culbreth, being engaged in a pitcher’s duel does not mean he changes his approach.
“When you start doing that, you start pressing a little too much,” Culbreth said. “You try and make too perfect of a pitch instead of letting the game happen. I try not to worry about that because I can’t control what he does or anything else other than me making a pitch at a time.”
Texas attempts to go for the sweep tomorrow at 2 p.m. and will be televised on FS1.