Lance Ford explodes as Longhorns end losing streak

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Photo Credit: Eddie Gaspar

For the first time in 12 days, the Texas Longhorns will see a change in the win column.

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Austin, the Longhorns snapped a six-game losing streak with a 10-2 victory over West Virginia in the series finale — in large part due to the play from freshman second baseman Lance Ford.

“I don’t know where that came from,” Ford said. “I was telling the guys earlier I only hit two home runs in high school then to add the double with that today, I really don’t know where that came from.”

Ford had the best game of his young career, going 3-for-5 at the plate with a two-run home run in the second inning to put the Longhorns on the board, and a grand slam in the sixth inning. Ford later added a double to an already impressive afternoon and finished with six runs batted in.

Coming into the ballgame, Ford had just eight RBIs on the season, and he nearly doubled that with just two swings of the bat Sunday afternoon.

The final note on an otherwise disappointing weekend provides hope that the worst stretch of baseball the Longhorns have played this season could be coming to an end. With two full weeks of season remaining, every win Texas can garner factors into the postseason.

“Honestly, it’s just a tribute to our character,” Texas head coach David Pierce said. “Nothing’s been in our favor, and we know that. But the key for us is that as ugly that we’ve played the last couple of games, our effort and our attitudes have been right, and you put that together and it looks easy.”

For just the second time in the last seven games, the Texas pitching staff has held its opponent under seven runs. Pitcher Ty Madden got the start Sunday afternoon and used some minor tweaks to his pitch repertoire to his advantage.

“(Coach) Phil (Haig) and I got with him and starting syncing it a little bit more in trying to get the strikes.” Pierce said. “We used his velocity as a separate pitch, so now you have sink and then you got (velocity) at 95 (mph). So then it becomes two pitches, trying to sink the ball in and trying to elevate the ball past them, and he did a great job at that.”

Madden finished the afternoon going six innings deep and allowing just two runs on six hits while striking out three in the process.

The freshman has sprouted since the beginning of the season and has now comfortably taken over the Sunday starter role.

“It’s been a grind, that’s for sure” said Madden, who improved to 4–1 on the season with the win Sunday. “At the beginning of the year, just stepping on campus and learning that at this level you gotta learn how to pitch and not throw.”

While the victory is a step in the right direction, it will mean nothing if Texas is unable to build on the momentum on Tuesday against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

At 25–21 on the season, Texas will need to finish the season as strong as possible before the NCAA Tournament to recover the seeding it has lost over the last three weeks.