AUSTIN — After more than six hours of baseball the previous day, Texas had to come out ready to play once more in order to sweep a 3-game Big 12 series over Kansas State. For the first time since 1993, UT had its starting pitcher bat in the designated hitter spot in the lineup. Faced with these responsibilities, sophomore Kacy Clemens did enough to earn the sweep-clinching win over the Wildcats, 6-1. Here’s the box score.
Clemens allowed only two hits and one earned over five innings. After he was removed from the game, he remained in the eight spot as the designated hitter, where he scored one of the six Longhorn runs. He was relieved by junior Travis Duke, whose only blemish on his 1.1 innings of work was a hit batsman. Freshman Connor Mayes continued to pitch well, going 2.2 innings and striking out two for his first save of the season. It followed UT’s double header win over the Wildcats on Saturday.
Texas continued to play great defense, again committing no errors. Senior Brooks Marlow and sophomore Tres Barrera both had great diving plays to prevent Wildcat hits from getting out of the infield, and freshman catcher Michael Cantu threw out two runners in the first two innings, including getting a man at second from his knees.
The Longhorns scored in the first inning when Barrera brought home junior C.J Hinojosa with a double. After a walk to Cantu in the second, 10 consecutive Longhorns were retired until sophomore Zane Gurwitz drew a walk in the fifth. Gurwitz would score when junior Ben Johnson put a bloop double down the left field line. The second and third runs of the Texas fifth came when senior Collin Shaw crushed a 2-run shot over the Texas bullpen on to Comal Street. The final Texas run came in the eighth, when freshman Bret Boswell brought in Barrera with an RBI single.
Head coach Augie Garrido said that since tough losses to West Virginia and UT-Arlington, his team has responded well both in practices and in games.
“I’m really happy about the weekend,” Garrido said. “We had two great practices after those games were over. The offensive players hit the ball hard throughout the series. They hit balls deep, and they could have taken the opportunity to be frustrated and selfish and disappointed. I don’t think we saw any bad body language.”
Garrido also mentioned how well Clemens has dealt with having to take on multiple roles for his team.
“It’s only the seventh time he’s pitched in two years,” Garrido said. “He’s quite an improvement and quite an addition to the pitching staff.”
Garrido also mentioned the plan for Clemens going forward.
“He’s going to DH against right handed pitching,” he said. “What we’ll try and do is match him up when the other team throws a left handed pitcher and pitch him on that day.”
Clemens said that even though he had some fatigue from the previous day, he was enjoyed being able to help this team on the mound and at the plate.
“My legs were a little tired from the double header yesterday,” said Clemens. “It’s fun pitching, playing first and hitting. I love all of it. I come to the ballpark ready to play whatever I need to play and get the win.”
Clemens also mentioned that he was able to find what worked on the mound when his other stuff was not performing as well.
“Today I really couldn’t locate my off-speed as well as I wanted to,” he said. “I was pitching on both sides of the plate with my fastball and luckily that was good enough.”
Texas, who now leads the Big 12 outright, travels to San Marcos to play Texas State in a mid-week matchup Tuesday.