Texas completes first series sweep in Pierce era

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Texas managed to get its first series sweep of the season, but the combination of unforgiving weather and a scrappy UCLA squad didn’t make it easy.

The Longhorns battled in two back-and-forth games, and played in an absolute downpour all in the same weekend of the Longhorns’ first sweep since 2015.

“It feels great,” head coach David Pierce said. “The kids came out and just played a complete weekend … I learned that we do have that resiliency when we fight through a weather day like yesterday, coming out and having that mentality to finish the job because it’s tough to sweep.”

Texas jumped out to an early lead in game three Sunday afternoon, but it didn’t last. However, once the Longhorns regained it in the bottom of the fourth, they didn’t give it up. The Longhorns broke the game open after their four-run sixth inning, sealing the 10-5 victory at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

“We’ve been telling you guys we have talent and we can do it, and we finally showed y’all,” senior Kacy Clemens said. “We know the talent we have and we finally came through this weekend.”

Although the Longhorns’ five-run victory sealed the sweep, it was a battle early on.

The Bruins erased two early Longhorn leads, and even took a lead of their own in the fourth while freshman Blair Henley didn’t have his best outing in his start on the mound. The right hander gave up four runs on six hits, but it was the Longhorn bullpen that turned things around.

A combination of sophomore Beau Ridgeway, senior Jon Malmin and junior Connor Mayes all pitched for a combined one inning before junior Jake McKenzie finished UCLA off. The Texas bullpen only gave up one run after Henley left the mound, allowing the Longhorns’ bats to take over.

“We just did a great job of just playing inning by inning,” Pierce said. “We could’ve got down early. We left a lot of guys on base, we could have really done a litte more damage. But I’m really proud of the way we continued to go and I thought McKenzie was outstanding on the back end.”

Texas got four runners across the plate in the sixth, eventually finishing the game with 10 runs on 14 hits. Although the Longhorns gave up nine hits, they only allowed one run across in the last five innings, capping off Texas’ fifth win in six days.

The Longhorns look to extend their five-game winning streak, but it'll be tough. No. 17 Texas A&M heads to Austin on Tuesday before the Longhorns’ weekend series with No. 6 Texas Tech next weekend.

“It was a great week, we go 5-0 and sweep and home, but we’ve got to get some rest now and stay mentally locked in and be ready for a tough week coming forward,” Pierce said. “I’m just really proud of them. (I) told them to get some rest and get their minds ready. It’s easy to get ready for this week.”