Texas prepares for home opener against Purdue

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Photo Credit: Katie Bauer | Daily Texan Staff

After a successful 3–1 road campaign to kick off their season, Texas returns for its home opening weekend against Purdue.

The Longhorns and the Boilermakers last met in 2005, when Texas swept the series. Looking to further their winning record, head coach David Pierce has shown off his squad’s offensive and defensive prowess against Louisiana and Rice.

In the outfield, the Longhorns look strong with center fielder Duke Ellis, right fielder Austin Todd and left fielder Eric Kennedy. Together, the outfield has tallied 17 hits and 11 runs through Texas’ first four outings.

This powerhouse trio has been a huge part of Texas’ campaign. Todd recorded two RBIs and helped secure the 2–1 win against Louisiana in the season opener. Ellis made several important catches in the outfield that secured quick innings.

On base, both third baseman Ryan Reynolds and infielder DJ Petrinsky remain solid defensively and have made their fair share of important plays throughout Texas’ schedule. Both are also powerhouse hitters; Reynolds has racked up one home run and six hits while Petrinsky has four hits and three RBIs.

Second baseman Lance Ford is another offensive standout, who went 3-for-5 at bat against Louisiana. With two hits, one double and one run scored, Texas can use his offensive skills to their advantage.

Meanwhile, second baseman Masen Hibbeler has struggled on the plate but continues to contribute defensively. Hibbeler has been seen on the plate 14 times but has yet to record a hit.

With a strong defensive backbone, Texas’ starting pitcher slot is still up for grabs. The Longhorns saw play from 16 of their 19 pitchers. Standouts include pitchers Bryce Elder, who was named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week, Cole Quintanilla and Matteo Bocchi.

Elder, Quintanilla and Bocchi were able to stop their respective opponents’ momentum that led the way for crucial offensive plays. Notably, Elder has a 1.13 ERA after shutting down the Louisiana offense for nine innings.

Pierce also recognized pitchers Donny Diaz and Kamron Fields after the Rice game. Both pitchers have struggled, however, with Fields having little success in their season opener and Diaz with an injury.

“Donny’s been through some serious rehab, he’s a guy who can really, really pitch and he knows what he’s doing,” Pierce said. “But to see Kam come back out there with great stuff that’s really encouraging.”

If their level of play remains high, the Longhorns have the potential to win their home opener against the Boilermakers.

The Boilermakers started their season 0–3 in a series against Southern Mississippi. Similar to the Longhorns, the Boilermakers played 10 innings in their season opener. After leading for 9 innings, they fell after a 10th inning walk off.

Purdue tallied up 15 runs in their series with Southern Mississippi. In order to secure a win, the Longhorns will have to shut down some offensive threats on Purdue’s roster.

Infielder Owen Jansen tallied five hits and two RBIs through Purdue’s first three games while catcher Zac Fascia earned four hits and three RBIs. With some successful batters, the Longhorns will have to remain tight while on the field.

Texas’ season opener starts at 6:30 p.m. at Disch-Falk Field tonight.