Sophomore Brandon Workman threw the 21st no-hitter in school history to carry his team to its second series sweep in as many weekends Sunday afternoon. The Longhorns topped Penn State 9-0 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field and remain undefeated on the season.
Last week, after watching Workman throw seven innings and retire 17 batters before giving up a hit against the University of Illinois at Chicago, teammate Cole Green had only one observation for him back in the dugout:
“Cole told him that the only way he could improve now was to throw a no-hitter,” head coach Augie Garrido said.
Workman must have been listening. He fulfilled his prophecy by facing the 27-batter minimum against the Nittany Lions and allowing only three to reach the bags – two on walks and one on an error. Catcher Cameron Rupp gunned down two of them in the base path.
Longhorn fans got a scare in the ninth when leadoff hitter Rick Marlin shot the 1-1 pitch up the middle and the ball deflected off Workman’s leg. Luckily, shortstop David Hernandez was there to scoop it up and make sure it beat Marlin to first. Workman fanned batters two and three to seal the win and his no-no.
“I’m really happy for him,” said longtime friend Rupp. “I’m just back there catching but we played really well behind him and everything worked out for him today.”
Workman’s no-hitter can be added to two he chalked up in high school. It is also the program’s 21st and the first since Kenn Kasparek went the distance and struck out nine against Texas State last season.
“Obviously it’s not like I just went into the game expecting to throw a no-hitter,” said Workman. “I was trying not to get over excited. I just wanted to hit my spots.”
It took until the fifth inning for both Workman and Garrido to realize that he may be on to something but by then, they said the key is to keep doing what you already have been.
“Honestly, I was just throwing the ball in that last inning. I had a lot of adrenaline going on at that point in time and I was just throwing the pitches (Rupp) was calling,” Workman said.
“It looked like a pretty normal pitching performance based on what this staff has been doing day in and day out,” said Garrido. “Then it started to get more exciting and as it started to count down, you start to feel the excitement of all of that. It was very cool.”
Although Penn State’s bats never got a chance to warm up, the Longhorns’ found the ball early and often. Second baseman Travis Tucker knocked a double to left field and used back-to-back sac flies from freshman Brandon Loy and Brandon Belt to put the Horns up 1-0 in the first.
Tant Shepherd plated DH Preston Clark with a double in the fourth before stealing third and using a single to right field from Rupp to put Texas up by three. Back-to-back triples from Connor Rowe and Travis Tucker set the Horns up to add three more runs to the board in the fifth. Texas used its final scoring chance in the eighth to tack on three more and let Workman take the mound for the last time.
Texas notched 14 hits, paced by Tucker and Shepherd. Shepherd was 3-for-4 with one run and two RBI and Tucker was 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI.
Penn State starting pitcher Calvin Grumley was saddled with the loss for giving up eight hits and six runs in four and one-third innings of work.
The Longhorns hope to hold their undefeated record against Texas State on Tuesday before heading out to Palo Alto to test their muster against the Stanford Cardinal. First pitch for Tuesday is scheduled for 6 p.m. in San Marcos.