A crowd of 4,575 people gathered Tuesday night to watch the Longhorns take on Sam Houston State. Those dedicated enough to travel from Huntsville, as well as with Austin residents, were blown away by Texas’ offensive explosion ina 10-3 victory.
For one night, Disch-Falk Field housed two completely different baseball clubs under the light — a thriving metropolitan university against a micropolis college 70 miles north of Houston. Longhorn and Bearkat fans mingled within the green chairs to watch the three-hour spectacle. Bearkat fans rallied loudly for four-straight innings while their team struck first to obtain a 3-0 lead. Texas’ defense looked flat, while Sam Houston State pitcher Seth Ballew shut down the Longhorns’ offense.
“I thought Ballew was really good,” Texas head coach David Pierce said. “I thought he had great command. He created some hitting problems.”
Down by three in the fifth inning, Pierce called on pitcher Ty Madden to amend Texas’ defensive struggles. On the mound for the second time this season, Madden provided two crucial strikeouts to retire Sam Houston State’s batters and set up the Longhorn offense in the bottom of the fifth.
“Ty picked us up on the mound and really turned the momentum,” Pierce said.
After four innings of play, Madden ended the game with only one earned run and seven strikeouts.
“My fastball felt really good, and my curveball has made a lot of improvement the last couple of weeks,” Madden said. “And gaining the confidence to go out and throw that is really nice.”
After Madden’s first inning, Sam Houston State’s one hour of domination shifted into a 45-minute fifth inning that put the Longhorns up six. This stretch allowed nine Longhorns to step onto home plate and combine for five RBIs, four of which were RBI doubles that helped steal the lead from the Bearkats. With the game in Texas’ hand for the first time of the evening, Pierce was impressed by his team’s recovery at the plate.
“I can’t recall the last time we hit four doubles in a row, especially rockets,” Pierce said. In the sixth inning, the Longhorns’ prowess continued. As Sam Houston State made its fifth pitching change of the night, Longhorn fans fed off Texas’ energy and clapped along to Pharrell’s “Happy.”
Later in the sixth, a deep voice screamed “Texas” and was met with a powerful, “Fight” while Sam Houston State struggled to contain the Longhorn offense for another long inning.
The eighth, ninth and tenth runs were added against the Bearkats as their lead dissipated with their fans’ energy. Texas had found its rhythm moving steadily from plate to plate. By the bottom of the sixth inning, the Longhorns gained full command of the game.
“The offense continued to tack on. It was a really solid win tonight,” Pierce said.
Another unlikely standout in Tuesday’s game was outfielder Tate Shaw. A usual on Texas’ bench, Shaw started at left field and tacked on two runs and two hits.
“You saw depth on my bench today, for Tate to come in and have a great night, We’ll continue to utilize guys in the best way we can,” Pierce said.
Owen Meaney will step onto the pitcher’s mound Wednesday as the Longhorns look to keep their home momentum moving against UTSA at 7 p.m.