AUSTIN — Last season, Texas did not hit 63 runs until March 4. The bats helped to reach it today on February 22.
The bats were not the only cog in the baseball machine that performed well, as the pitching staff surrendered no runs on just six hits, and threw three consecutive shutouts for the first time in 13 years. The defense also made every play it needed to in the Longhorns’ 8-0 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Here’s the box score.
Sophomore Kacy Clemens earned his first career win for the school where his father, Roger Clemens, recorded 25. Clemens threw five innings of one-hit baseball, striking out four while only walking two on 69 pitches. He saw his ERA decrease from 24.00 to 9.00.
Clemens was relieved by junior Travis Duke, who himself allowed just one hit in two innings. Freshman Tyler Schimpf and sophomore Andy McGuire finished the last two innings of the 4-game sweep.
Texas offense struck early again when senior Brooks Marlow brought home a pair with a 2-out double in the first.
The 37-minute second inning saw three different Minnesota pitchers. Gopher starter Neal Kunik was replaced by Lance Thonvold, who had only six strikes in 21 pitches. Neither Thonvold nor his replacement could retire a third Longhorn, allowing Texas to unload for five runs. First, Zane Gurwitz scored on a wild pitch. Senior Collin Shaw brought another home with an RBI double, and Marlow added two more RBIs with a single. Freshman Michael Cantu earned an RBI with a bases loaded walk.
The final Texas run came in the eighth when a Gurwitz triple brought home freshman Bret Boswell. Texas head coach Augie Garrido said that this was as good of a performance one could ask of from his team.
“You can count pretty easily the number at bats that weren’t really good at bats,” Garrido said. “That’s pretty efficient. We did a good job of making contact and driving the ball. We stayed with it and did the job the way we have asked them to do the job.”
Garrido also spoke highly of his starter after a disappointing pitching debut in Houston against Rice.
“Kacy looked good,” Garrido said. “He made a huge improvement. By the time he finished his last inning in the fifth he was on top of his game again.”
Shaw said that even though he has been lacing the ball recently, with eight doubles and a team-leading 10 RBIs, the hitting has been a team effort.
“Hitting is very contagious,” Shaw said. “We knew we were going to have a good offensive club. [Garrido] has been telling us treat every day like Opening Day. Everyone has confidence on opening day.”
Clemens talked about how it was great to go out and erase the memory of his previous start.
“I was pretty bummed about my first start finishing like that, but I want to play the best for these guys,” Clemens said. “It was fun to get back out there again and get going. I tried to work pretty quick with Tres (Barrera) and stick to what I have.”
Clemens said that his father, who was in attendance in Kacy’s start at Rice as well as today’s game, was offered nothing but support.
“He said he was proud to watch me pitch in a Texas uniform,” Clemens said. “It was a long week for me. I wanted to get this start going so I could prove myself.”
Texas plays UT-Pan American on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. LHN will have the broadcast.