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The visiting Abilene Christian Wildcats experienced what No. 3 Texas has inflicted on several mid-major opponents and members of the Big 12 on Friday when the Longhorns plated a season-high 18 runs. Every Longhorn starter scored, and 11 players recorded a base hit while five pitchers combined for a four-hit shutout in the series-opening win.
Ty Madden dominated Wildcat hitting in his brief-for-his-standards appearance, walking three and allowing three base hits over five innings to earn his fifth win. He ended the top of the first with a swinging strikeout of ACU’s Colton Eager with a 99 mph fastball.
When he returned for his second inning of work, he had all the run support he would need.
“T-Y went out, pitched five great innings for us, and gave us a chance to win,” Texas head coach David Pierce said postgame. “Did a nice job early on with the offense setting the tone of the game. Clean game all the way around.”
Texas plated five runs in its first at bat, beginning when Zach Zubia drove in one with an RBI double. Douglas Hodo brought home two with a single, and Cam Williams drove in a pair with a two-out RBI double. The Longhorns added one more in the second inning before another five-run explosion in the third.
Trey Faltine walked with the bases loaded for the first run bringing up Mike Antico. He popped foul to ACU shortstop Sebastian Randle for the second out of the inning, but Randle either forgot about Eric Kennedy on third, the number of outs, or both. Kennedy tagged and scored to make it 8-0.
Mitchell Daly then singled to bring home another Longhorn, his second RBI single in the first two innings. The third inning barrage was capped by Ivan Melendez extending his hitting streak to 11 games with a check swing single that plated two.
A single Longhorn crossed the plate in innings four, five, and six, including Hodo’s third home run of the season in the fourth. Two scored in the seventh thanks to a two-out RBI double from Murphy Stehly. The final two additions to Texas’ 18-run total came via singles from Stehly and Dalton Porter. Their work meant Texas scored at least one run in every at bat.
“Murph was solid,” Pierce said. “That’s a big deal for Murph. He’s hit now a triple and a double into right center field, and he was just such a dead-pull guy when he got here. You’re talking about a guy that’s just continuing to put in the work, and you can see it.”
Madden worked himself into a small jam in the second when he gave up back-to-back one-out singles but ended the inning with a flyout and a strikeout. Two Wildcats began the inning with walks in the fourth, and one eventually reached third base. Madden recorded three straight outs to strand the runner 90 feet from the plate and maintain the shutout.
Texas made wholesale subs in the sixth inning, and the entire starting lineup had been replaced by the start of the seventh with Texas holding a 14-0 lead. After Madden’s five shutout innings, Coy Cobb, Jared Southard, Caden Noah, and Drew Shifflet all recorded scoreless frames to bring the game to its close, with Noah surrendering the only ACU hit over the final four innings.
“Great to see some of our non-starters get in the game, and some extra pitchers we’ve been trying to see,” Pierce said. “I thought they all did well. It’s the Friday night game. We’re 1-0 in the series. We’ve got to regroup and be ready to play tomorrow.”
The final score indicates the disparity between the two programs, but it also hints at the attitude Texas brings to each game. The Longhorns intend to play the game they way they know how to regardless of whether they’re facing a top ten team or an out-of-conference schedule-filler.
“They’re doing such a great job of not playing the opponent and not concerned about that, but really being concerned about how we play,” Pierce said. “Because I think if they can get into the point of their measurement, their barometer being ourselves, I think we’re on the right track.”
Texas looks to win its eighth consecutive weekend series since beginning the season 0-3 with Tristan Stevens taking the mound Saturday at 2:30 p.m.