SAN MARCOS, Texas — The Longhorns were up against two opponents Tuesday night — Texas State and the elements. But neither gusting winds, a lengthy rain delay nor the Bobcats could come between Texas and a win, as the team rolled to a 6-1 victory in San Marcos, Texas, over its I-35 rival.
“I thought we did a great job of handling the elements,” Texas head coach David Pierce said. “I thought our kids just stayed prepared. We came out of early batting practice with nice conditions, and then it just flips on you. It’s still something that none of us can control, so we try and keep our minds right.”
On a cold and windy night, the Longhorns gained control of the contest by capitalizing on the location issues of the Texas State pitching staff. In the top of the fourth, sophomore outfielder Duke Ellis led off the inning getting beamed by a pitch and would take second base after a balk.
After sophomore infielder Ryan Reynolds was hit by another pitch, junior infielder Masen Hibbeler knocked in the game’s first runs with an RBI single down the left field line. Redshirt freshman designated hitter Zach Zubia would walk to make the contest 2-0, after a single from sophomore infielder David Hamilton loaded the bases.
Texas would cross home plate once more in the fourth to capture a commanding three-run lead.
The teams would play through a drizzle for early parts of the contest, but a heavy onslaught of rain would finally force a delay in the top of the fifth. The tarps were rolled out across the diamond, and Longhorns and Bobcats alike took refuge in their dugouts.
After a delay of more than an hour, the teams were able to get back to action. The contest’s score held until the top of the eighth, when Hamilton hit his first career home run, a two-run shot to right field to make the game 5-0.
Hamilton, a San Marcos native, was happy with the return to his hometown, even if the conditions weren’t ideal.
“It felt amazing to put the team up,” Hamilton said. “ We had that break, and it was kind of rough. But we were just chilling and laying down.”
The Bobcats would get their first and only run in the bottom of the ninth.
Freshman pitcher Nico O’Donnell would go for three innings, marking his fourth consecutive start of four innings or less. The freshman would get into trouble early, loading the bases in the first inning. But a pair of strikeouts would help O’Donnell get off the frame unscathed. In his short stint on the mound, the righty surrendered no runs and two hits.
With only three innings from O’Donnell, Texas leaned heavily on its bullpen, and the unit pulled through. Four pitchers combined for the game’s remaining innings, limiting the opposition to only two hits. Junior pitcher Matteo Bocchi continued an efficient year out of the pen, throwing two shutout innings with a pair of strikeouts.
“I thought (freshman pitcher) Kam Fields was outstanding with his stuff and he was electric with great command,” Pierce said. “I thought Bocchi handled some adversity well. Those two were the highlights on the mound for me.”
The Longhorns were stymied to only four hits, two of which came from Hamilton. But the team was able to generate offense thanks to walking five times and being hit by five pitches. In a rare occurrence, junior outfielder Tate Shaw was beamed three times.
It will be another quick turnaround for the Longhorns, as the team resumes conference play this Thursday. Texas travels to Manhattan, Kansas, to take on Kansas State in a three-game series.