Longhorns kick off season with Alumni game

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Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

Redshirt junior Morgan Cooper stood three outs away from pitching a no-hitter against the Longhorn alumni on Saturday afternoon.

The alumni were set to play only three innings, so Cooper was sure to get off to a quick start. The right hander retired the first six batters he faced, putting him three outs away from a perfect outing on the mound. 

But Drew Stubbs had other plans. Morgan said during the week, Stubbs told him to give him something good to hit come Saturday.

“He said, ‘You have to give me one fastball to hit,’” Cooper said. “When he went up there I was like, ‘I know he’s going to be sitting on a fastball’ … So I threw him a slider, and when he came back by, he wasn’t too happy.” 

Cooper struck him out once but wasn’t so lucky the next time he went to the plate. The only hit he gave up came at the hands of Stubbs when he threw a fastball that ended up soaring over the right center field. 

“He came around and I was like, ‘You couldn’t just hit a double or something? You couldn’t keep it in the yard?’” Cooper said. “He just laughed and said he had to get me back for the first at bat … I’m sure I’ll hear it from them here in a little bit for giving up a home run. It’s all part of it, I guess.”

However, that was all Cooper allowed. And he got more than enough help from his offense. 

Junior second baseman Bret Boswell got the scoring started in the bottom of the second inning. Boswell blasted a leadoff solo homer over the newly adjusted right center wall, which should result in more home runs when the season starts. 

“It’s really fun to watch,” head coach David Pierce said. “I think it’s going to create what we want. It’s definitely still an alignment that’s similar to everywhere in the country that we play, and that’s what we needed.”

Boswell’s shot kickstarted an explosive inning.

Sophomore right hander Nolan Kingham, the designated pitcher for the alumni, was the victim of what would be a five-run second inning for the Longhorns.

Kingham gave up six hits against the first seven batters he faced — many of them due to a limited effort from the alumni, who tried to avoid injuries before the season starts.

“I mean, I love Ben Johnson,” Pierce said. “But we didn’t get a lot of help defensively on the other side. (Kingham has) been really good … He’s on pace to be a starting pitcher for us. He’s done a lot of good things. He just needs to look at what didn’t work today.”

The offense stifled on both sides after the alumni switched out with the current roster players in the fourth inning. The White squad found itself on the better side of a 9–2 result when the game was called after the eighth inning. 

“We’re still progressing,” Pierce said. “We’re trying to get better every single day. I’m really pleased with the effort and attitude and the response that we
are receiving.”

Pierce will look to turn things around now that he is at the helm. Texas is predicted to finish fourth in the Big 12 this year behind TCU, Oklahoma State and
Texas Tech. 

The Longhorns’ season opener is set for Feb. 17 when they host the Rice Owls in a three-game series at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.