A sold out crowd, the No. 2 team in the country and UFCU Disch-Falk Field. In front of the biggest regular season crowd since 2012, no one expected the No. 22 Longhorns to match the LSU Tigers, let alone beat them 8-1.
The Longhorns have started their campaign to possibly avenge their one win, two loss series to the Tigers in 2018.
“I wouldn’t call it a statement (win), but we have a lot of young guys out there who realize they can play with anyone in the country, and I think that's big for our confidence,” Pierce said.
The Longhorns trailed the first two innings until they found a slow rhythm in the third inning. LSU pitcher Zack Hess faced seven Longhorn batters and walked three of them. UT infielder Tate Shaw was in a bases loaded situation and was able to force a walk that led Austin Todd home.
Texas continued this rhythm into the fourth inning, when Masen Hibbeler hit his first double of the season. Leadoff hitter Duke Ellis was able to bring him home after a home run that put Texas up 3-1.
“It felt great, saving my approach, my first two at bats I was a little big, tried to match power for some reason,” Ellis said.”Coach said, ‘stay within myself, stay with my swing,’ I shortened up and just connected and hit it right.”
Yet, it wasn’t until the seventh inning when Texas’ offensive potential exploded and the Tigers’ defense imploded. The inning started out with a walk by outfielder Austin Todd and a single up the middle by designated hitter Zach Zubia. With two runners on base, third baseman Reynolds hit an RBI single that gave Todd his second run of the night, and put the Longhorns 4-1.
Three back-to-back singles burned the third baseman and the left field. However, no position was safe from the wrath, as missed catches and grounded balls sprung by their most agile players. By the end of the slaughter, Texas was up 8-1.
“It’s just guys having good at bats and seeing the ball well and against their stuff arms, not trying to do too much,” Pierce said. “I think we did a really good job of staying on top of the ball today and hitting ground balls. Duke’s sneaky power how about that.”
Texas’ defense remained strong throughout the game, especially on the pitching mound.
Right-handed pitcher Bryce Elder had another successful showing with seven strikeouts, four hits and three walks.
“I think in the first inning, I tried to make a few pitches too good at times,” Elder said. “But when I came out in the second I reset, and said, ‘I’m going to make a pitch.’ I went pitch by pitch.”
Their fight isn’t over just yet, as Texas has two more games left in their series against the Tigers. Though this win is big for their team, Pierce said this changes nothing moving forward.
“(Our mentality for tomorrow is) no different,” Pierce said. “We’ll come out, get our work in, be focused. Just pound the zone, the top of their order is really good, they have some power in there as well as team speed. So we just have to be focused and ready to go.”