AUSTIN — Run support is a pitcher’s best friend.
17 hits makes it easy for pitchers to attack hitters early, and that’s exactly what Parker French did in Friday’s series opening 13-2 win against Minnesota. Hits came early and often from senior right fielder Collin Shaw and freshman catcher Michael Cantu, who had five RBIs on a 3-for-5 night. Here’s the box score.
Texas scored in the first inning once again when junior left fielder Ben Johnson opened the contest with a triple. Shaw grounded out to bring Johnson home, and Texas never looked back.
The second score of the first inning saw sophomore first baseman Tres Barrera bring home C.J Hinojosa on a single up the middle. Texas kept the offense going in the second when freshman Michael McCann scored on a passed ball, and when Shaw skied a triple of his own off of the left field wall to score Cantu.
The barrage kept coming in the fifth when freshman Bret Boswell smacked a ground rule double that scored three. Cantu added two more when he delivered with an RBI single.
The Longhorns’ offense blew up again in the eighth when senior Brooks Marlow brought home Shaw with an RBI single. Cantu added his last three RBIs with a double, and was brought home by Zane Gurwitz with a double of his own.
Sophomore Jon Malmin relieved French after six innings in which French allowed three hits, one run and struck out two. Malmin allowed only one hit over the final three innings for a quick finish.
Over the past two games, Texas has smacked 37 hits and 27 runs. Head coach Augie Garrido did not get too excited, but was very happy with his team.
“We’ve had 37 hits before,” Garrido said. “The last time it took a month. They’ve put a lot of work in their hitting game and I want them to get as much confidence out of it as they possibly can.”
French’s solid performance goes a long way to help the team get comfortable in games, according to the head coach.
“He has a very settling effect on the rest,” Garrido said. “Everybody can go out there and throw the ball to the catcher, and that’s what Parker does.”
Garrido also was very complementary of his freshman catcher.
“He’s really good,” he said. “He’s one of those players that’s much better in the game than in practice, and really good players are like that. They’ve been good for a long time.”
Cantu, who measures at 6-foot-3, 237 pounds, said that he didn’t think the Gophers pitching staff avoided him, but that he hit the balls that were there for him.
“I saw eight pitches and they were eight balls,” Cantu said. “I am sort of used to it, but hitting down in the lineup and being a freshman, I didn’t think they would do that. I think they couldn’t get the ball over.”
Texas plays two against Minnesota tomorrow at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.