Before Xavier, there were TCU and Incarnate Word — games where the Longhorns could have easily tacked on another win to improve its series. And though the Longhorns were unable to take the wins against the Horned Frogs and the Cardinals, Texas was able to rebound with a 3–0 series sweep against the Musketeers.
In three consecutive 6-5 wins, the Longhorns returned to stride at home during a windy weekend. Though head coach David Pierce is happy with the amount of heart his team showed, he says his team still has a lot to learn after the series sweep.
“Across the board, (Xavier) outplayed us in some areas, but there’s a will within some of our guys and a lot of pride that says, ‘We’re not going to be denied,’” Pierce said. “They did a great job of that, even when we were down, even when we were ugly, we figured out how to win the game. And I’d much rather win the game and try to work on some things and be very stern about how we approach it.”
First baseman Tate Shaw, who hit the walk-off double off the right center field wall on Sunday, highlighted the overall culture in the locker room that helped pave the way for the victory.
“It’s just the culture that Coach Pierce brought us,” Shaw said. “We fight hard, game’s not over until it’s over. It’s a great team win.”
Shaw, a redshirt senior who has bounced around defensively during his time with the Longhorns, has become a Swiss Army knife for Pierce.
“What I’ve always loved about Tate is he’s just, when you look at the label of ballplayer, that’s what he is,” Pierce said. “He’s not flashy, he’s a good runner, not a great runner, he has a decent arm, not a great arm, but he believes in himself and he’s tough as nails. So if you can get that kind of guy with confidence, then you can get a ballplayer that you want on your field every day and that’s where he is right now.”
Second baseman Lance Ford has experienced the same culture change in his first season with the program. With two outs in the ninth inning, Ford hit a single up the middle which kept the Longhorns alive and eventually led to the game-winning double.
“We never give up in the dugout and coming into that last inning we knew we had good guys coming to the plate,” Ford said. “We could get it done, we had trust in everybody just to pass the bat to the next guy. Even when it got down to two outs we knew that it just takes a couple knocks to get it going. The best thing about us is that we just never give up, every guy in the lineup can get it done.”
The same culture emphasized by Shaw and Ford will need to be on full display Tuesday evening when the Texas A&M Aggies come to Austin for a midweek non-conference game.