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Across generations of Texas Longhorns baseball up to and including this season, the bunt has been an integral part of the program’s fabric. UFCU Disch-Falk Field’s dimensions do not make hitting the ball over the fence an easy task, but that was not apparent watching Texas defeat Oklahoma 11-6 on Saturday to secure another Big 12 series win.
“Offensively, what a night,” Texas head coach David Pierce said. “A lot of guys had good nights and saw the ball well with a good approach.”
The Longhorns and Sooners combined for six home runs, with UT accounting for four of the blasts. OU’s Tyler Hardman knocked two two-run shots in four at bats, but his powerful effort was matched by Cam Williams’ two-homer, four RBI game.
Williams’ home runs were unique in that he hit one from each side of the plate. His first was a solo dinger from the right side in the sixth against Sooner starter Jake Bennett. One pitch prior to his first hit of the game, he fouled a ball to the third base side that likely left the grounds of the Disch. Postgame, Williams explained he was not going to let another hittable pitch pass by him again.
“I get comfortable,” Williams said. “I see my fastball and I never want to miss a fastball. I jump all over that, and then I hook it foul. I know I’m probably not going to get another one. I get a change up and I just put a barrel to it, which is all coach asks me to do.”
“He don’t ask me to hit home runs,” Williams added while laughing.
His shot over the left field fence tied the game at 4-4. Later in the inning, fellow corner infielder Zach Zubia crushed a two-run bomb to the left of the batter’s eye in straightaway center to help Texas take a 6-3 lead, his second homer in as many days. Not wanting to miss out on the party, Eric Kennedy hit a solo home run in the seventh to make it 7-3 Horns.
Williams didn’t know if he would receive another at bat after his seventh-inning single. He wanted to take advantage of the opportunity presented in the eighth, this time from the left side facing a right-handed pitcher.
“I just wanted all my preparation to be for something in this game,” Williams said. “You never want to go to sleep after and not know, you know? I get in there and three pitches, two are borderline but I didn’t want them. Then he gives me a 3-0 hit, and I knew I couldn’t miss it. This is what I worked for. This is what God has given me, so I’m going to take that.”
Preparation is a word Williams has mentioned often this season. It’s a common theme among this Longhorn team, and Pierce claims no one does it better than his third baseman known as “Hammer.”
“Cam Williams is by far the hardest worker I’ve ever had,” Pierce said. “And it’s every single day. He loves the game. He doesn’t know a whole lot about other sports. All he wants to do is be a ballplayer.”
His 3-0 swing sent the ball on a long journey to Comal St. past the right field fence. Williams knew it was out of the park right away. He took a moment to flip his bat and admire the ball in flight. His two-run shot made it an 11-4 game, the seven-run margin large enough for Palmer Wenzel and Cole Quintanilla to complete the series win despite two Oklahoma runs in the ninth.
Texas’ power production spurred the Longhorns to Saturday’s win, but others methods of offense were used to bring runs across. Mitchell Daly continued his hot streak with an RBI single in the second. Williams also brought in a run in the third on a groundout.
Douglas Hodo III doubled in the eighth inning to bring in one, and he eventually scored on a single from Kennedy one at bat prior to Williams’ second blast.
Tristan Stevens collected his third win of the season in 6.0 innings of work, allowing four earned runs on six hits while walking two and striking out a career-high seven hitters. Lucas Gordon threw one no-hit inning before Wenzel and Quintanilla closed out the final two frames.
“They’re not perfect, but they’re definitely playing hard and playing with enthusiasm,” Pierce said. “And tonight, a lot of confidence.”
The Longhorns attempt to sweep the baseball edition of the Red River Shootout for the first time since 2014 at 1 p.m. Sunday, sending Kolby Kubichek to the hill.