Longhorns win three of four in home opener

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Photo Credit: Katie Bauer | Daily Texan Staff

Fans at UFCU Disch-Falk Field only get to hear Pat Green’s hit single “I Like Texas” following victories on the diamond by the Longhorns, and luckily for most of them, they were able to hear it three times over the weekend’s home-opening series against Purdue.

Head coach David Pierce’s squad was able to notch three more victories to their 2019 campaign after a 7-2 win Friday night, a 13-6 win Saturday afternoon and a 3-0 victory to wrap up the series Sunday.

Texas’ lone loss of the weekend came in the back end of a doubleheader Saturday when the Longhorns managed to record just one hit in a 4-0 loss, improving their record to 6–2 on the young season.

After scoring 17 runs in the previous two games leading up to the series, Texas managed to outscore Purdue, 23-12, signaling a continuing hot streak at the plate. The Longhorns were able to match their season total in home runs in just the first two games of the series alone when shortstop Bryce Reagan, right fielder Austin Todd and left fielder Eric Kennedy each cleared the wall.

“Offensively, I think we have been swinging it well,” left fielder Duke Ellis said, who scored three times over the weekend. “Besides the second game (Saturday) night, I think we are honestly one of the best hitting teams in the country.”

On top of the solid offensive outing this weekend, the Longhorn pitching staff was lights out. Starting pitchers Bryce Elder, Coy Cobb and Matt Whelan allowed a combined zero earned runs in their 18 innings of service while Cole Quintanilla and Kamron Fields added six scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

The pitching staff as a whole allowed just six earned runs in the four games, and finished with a collective 1.50 ERA.

“I think the talent (from) this team is off the charts,” said Whalen, who pitched five scoreless innings in the win Sunday. “This staff has the potential to do a lot of good stuff this year.”

Yet, despite the three-win weekend, Pierce still sees opportunities for the Longhorns to get better — specifically on defense, where Texas had eight errors in the four-game series.

“We are still a work in progress,” Pierce said. “Our infield defense has to improve, outfield play has been solid but still has to improve and I think more than anything, on the coaching side of it, we have to get better with protecting with two strikes.”

Despite having several areas for improvement, the Longhorns are still finding ways to win ball games.

The Longhorns will have the opportunity to carry on the momentum generated by Sunday’s victory with two non-conference home games this week against Sam Houston State on Tuesday, and UT-San Antonio on Wednesday.

While it’s likely Pierce will emphasize to his squad that no game should be overlooked, there is already a lot of chatter surrounding this weekend’s three-game series with No. 2 Louisiana State University beginning on Friday.

“I always think it is important to play the best,” Pierce said. “It gives us an opportunity to find out who we are against the best teams in the country, and that’s what we want to be: the best team in the country.”