A fastball to the back of the head sidelined Brandon Belt last Friday and 169 pitches worth of relief on Saturday kept Austin Wood out of Sunday’s decisive win over Army, but both are fully recovered for this weekend’s Super Regional against TCU.
Friday notes from the Disch:
Austin Wood will be available for Saturday
During Texas’ 25-inning, seven-hour win over Boston College, officially the longest game in college baseball history, Texas closer Austin Wood pitched 13 innings off relief, throwing a grand total of 169 pitches.
Given that he’s the Horns’ closer, 169 pitches is obviously way, way above a normal outing for the Longhorn left-hander. When asked about the health of that left arm, Texas head coach Augie Garrido responded with a joke.
“Right after the arm transplant, which was success…” Garrido began, drawing laughter.
Garrido then went on to say Wood is in fine and will be ready to come in as the closer in Saturday’s Super Regional opener.
“His rehab has been immediate and successful, so he’ll be available (to pitch) starting on Saturday,” said Garrido.
Brandon Belt fully recovered
Texas first baseman Brandon Belt was forced to sit out of last Friday’s regional-opening win after taking a fastball to the back of the head during the first inning. Belt received seven stitches and was diagnosed with a mild concussion. However, Belt said he’s fully recovered and will play this weekend.
“I’m fine,” said Belt. “I’m getting my stitches out today so I’ll feel a little bit better after they come out. I actually went to a balance specialist today, so I’m good to go.”
Belt was actually able to play in the remaining games of the Austin Regional, despite the injury.
“When you’ve got stitches in your head and a mild concussion, that usually doesn’t happen, but (the training staff) did everything they needed to do to get me back out there,” said Belt.
Belt’s exit from the game against Army, though, did allow a teammate to improve his batting average to an impressive 1.000. Pitcher Cole Green is now 1-for-1 in his Longhorn career after stepping to the plate for the first time and getting a hit while filling in for the injured Belt.
“Now he won’t shut up about it,” said Belt, jokingly.
“Not because he threw those seven innings,” interjected third-baseman Michael Torres, “it’s because he got that one hit.”
According to Torres, Green was quite excited when he was told by Garrido he was headed to the plate.
“He started jumping up and down and trying on everyone’s helmet,” said Torres. “He grabbed my bat and said, ‘Is this a winner? I think this one’s a winner.’ I was looking for my bat on deck and Cole was out there swinging it. I said, ‘Cole, it doesn’t matter what bat you have, you’re not going to get a hit.’”
But Green did get a hit, drawing a standing ovation from the Texas crowd.
Torres and Belt also joked Friday about how happy they are that there’s not a single left-handed pitcher in TCU’s regular rotation. Both are left-handed batters, so opponents naturally bring in lefties to face them.
“We both face left-hand pitching because we hit back-to-back and going back to the Big 12 Tournament we had like 28 straight at-bats where we kept facing lefties,” said Torres. “They’d bring them in to throw us breaking balls.”
The only left-hand pitchers on TCU’s entire roster are Walker Kelly and Derek VerHagen, who aren’t a part of the regular rotation and have combined for a total of just 20 innings pitched this season.
Ruffin will start opener
Texas’ regular Friday starter, Chance Ruffin, will step out onto the mound for the Horns Saturday as expected. Ruffin had a decent performance starting the 25-inning game against Boston College, giving up five hits and two runs over six and a third innings, but overall Ruffin wasn’t pleased with his effort.
“I wasn’t very satisfied with it. It was something that gave us an opportunity to win, something I expect to do consistently, but I’m hoping to go out and do a little better this round, maybe get a little further in the game with a couple more innings,” said Ruffin.
Ruffin has a 9-2 record and a 2.95 ERA on the year.
Texas and TCU have already faced off once this season, with Texas beating the Horned Frogs, 6-0, at UFCU Disch-Falk Field back on April 7, but Garrido stressed Friday that the win earlier in the season is no indicator of what will happen this weekend.
“You can toss that one out the window,” said Garrido. “It was a Tuesday game, both teams had played in conference over the weekend so we were in different parts of our pitching staffs, different parts of our rotations. The game moved along with a flow but it has no bearing on what’s going to happen this weekend.”
In the game, five different Texas pitchers combined for the shutout, with Austin Dicharry staying out the longest (four innings).
Texas’ first game this weekend against the Horned Frogs is set for 5:00 p.m. CT Saturday evening. The game broadcast will be on ESPNU.