Parker French

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Texas finished a historic run to the Big 12 championship game with a 6–3 win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys at ONEOK Field in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Sunday.

The Longhorns, who finished the Big 12 regular season in fifth place with a 2625 overall record, rode the backs of their pitchers to the championship game. Texas got three consecutive complete games from pitchers — senior Parker French, junior Ty Culbreth and freshman Connor Mayes.

Texas saw Sunday’s starting pitcher, right-handed freshman Kyle Johnston, pick up where the other three left off. Johnston threw five innings of one-hit ball before getting into trouble in the sixth inning.

“All of the four starters did an excellent job of getting their outs on time,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “[The pitchers were] pitching to contact, pitching without fear, showing a purpose on the mound, trusting their teammates behind them and going about their business of playing baseball.”

The Longhorns scored the first run of the game in the third inning. Junior left fielder Ben Johnson hit a one-out single and moved over to second on freshman shortstop Joe Baker's sacrifice bunt. Junior shortstop C.J Hinojosa hit an RBI single to center to bring Johnson home and gave Texas a 1–0 lead.

Johnston kept the Cowboys offense shut-down until the sixth inning, in which he issued a one-out walk to freshman infielder Jacob Chappell.  The Cowboys followed the walk with a single from senior outfielder Gage Green. Oklahoma State tied the game on an RBI single by junior outfielder Corey Hassel.

The Cowboys continued their offensive push in the seventh inning. French came into the ballgame to relieve Johnston, as Oklahoma State loaded the bases. The Cowboys were able to score a run and take a 2–1 lead, but French was able to get the Longhorns out of the inning only down one.   

Down a run, the Longhorns offense exploded in the eighth inning. Texas took advantage of three errors and scored five runs on two hits to give it a 6–2 lead.

But Oklahoma State would try to rally in the bottom frame as it loaded the bases in the eighth. The Cowboys were able to score a run, but the Longhorns got off the inning 6–3.

Texas called upon senior left handed pitcher Kirby Bellow to finish the eighth and ninth innings and secure its fifth Big 12 Tournament Championship.    

“I just went out there and trusted myself and focused on the glove and didn't worry about the runners,” Bellow said. “I just went out there and tried to do my job.

Sophomore center fielder Zane Gurwitz was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. Gurwitz had two hits and two RBIs in the championship game.

While he earned the tournament’s highest honor, Gurwitz was quick to acknowledge his teammates efforts throughout the tournament.

I have the easy part,” Gurwitz said. “My teammates in the eighth inning they got the bases loaded for me, they tied the game. All I had to do was put the ball in play, and I found a hole.”

Gurwitz, French and Mayes were named to all-tournament team alongside sophomore catcher Tres Barrera, senior second baseman Brooks Marlow, freshman third baseman Bret Boswell and Baker. 

If there was any doubt about who was the ace of the Longhorns pitching staff, Parker French put that to rest Friday night.

While the senior pitcher only struck one batter out, French limited Minnesota to only three hits in six innings and allowed only one run.

Meanwhile, the Texas offense exploded for 13 runs on 17 hits to secure a 13-2 victory over the Golden Gophers in the first game of a four-game series.

As they did Tuesday night against UTSA, the Longhorns got off to a quick start on the mound and behind the plate. After French led off the game with a quick 1-2-3 inning, junior left fielder Ben Johnson opened the bottom half of the inning with a fly ball that went just underneath the right fielder’s glove for a triple. Senior right fielder Collin Shaw then brought him in on a ground out to give the Longhorns the early lead.

After adding another run in the first, Texas struck again in the second, scoring on a wild pitch and then Shaw added an RBI triple just over the left fielder’s head to up the Longhorn’s lead to 4-0. After Minnesota got on the board in the fourth, the floodgates opened for Texas in the fifth.

Junior shortstop C.J. Hinojosa reached on an error to start the inning, chasing the Golden Gopher’s starter Ben Meyer from the game, the next two batters reached on walks and then freshman third-baseman Bret Boswell drilled a ground-rule double to right field to bring in two runs.

Two batters later, fellow freshman Michael Cantu singled to right center field to up the Texas lead to 8-1. Cantu then added to his RBI total with a bases-loaded triple in the eighth to increase the lead 13-1.

“Ben’s been swinging the bat good and Collin and Tres [Barrera] and we feed off of that and hit the ball well,” Cantu said.

French, meanwhile, did more than his part on the mound. The right hander threw first-pitch strikes to the first 10 batters he faced. French also limited Minnesota to only two extra base hits.

As good as he was pitching, French said he didn’t mind coming out after six innings.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” French said. “You don’t win national championships in February.”

The Longhorns and Golden Gophers will square off in a double header Saturday afternoon. The first game is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.

Senior pitcher Parker French opened Texas’ season allow ing just one run in five innings during Texas’ win against Rice on Friday. French is expected to lead Texas on the mound this season as the Longhorns’ veteran pitcher.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Marcel Merwin | The Rice Thresher

Senior starting pitcher Parker French, who is expected to be the ace of the Longhorns staff in the early going, looked his part in the Longhorns’ season opener Friday. 

After struggling in the first inning with a hit batter and an earned run, French settled in, allowing only three hits and recording a strikeout over the course of his next four innings. French did struggle with three hit batters in the game, although those could be attributed to the nerves of starting a new season.

Sophomore starting pitchers struggle

Outside of French, Texas will have to rely on a pair of sophomore arms on the mound if the team is going to have the success it wants this year. In Saturday’s doubleheader, however, both starting pitchers — Kacy Clemens and Josh Sawyer — struggled in their first starts.

Clemens’ day got off to a rough start, as he allowed seven hits, including a home run, and six runs in his first inning. Clemens settled down for the next two innings but was credited for two more earned runs in the fourth after the Longhorns had closed the deficit to one.

Sawyer’ end result was similar. He allowed a run in the first, allowed two more in the third and was credited with two earned runs in the fifth as Rice swept the Longhorn in the doubleheader.

Longhorns bats rattle Rice’s Blake Fox

While Clemens struggled on the mound, the Longhorns bats kept the game close, which was an impressive feat given the strength of Owls starting pitcher Blake Fox. Texas pegged Fox for seven runs — four of which were earned — eight hits and two walks.

Last season, Fox posted a 1.46 ERA for Rice and was anticipated to be one of the game’s leading pitchers heading into this season. Fox still emerged with his 19th straight win as a starter but not before taking shots from the Longhorns batters.

Boswell starts with solid opening series

After missing all of last year with a wrist injury, redshirt freshman Bret Boswell made the most of his first opportunity to see the field this weekend. 

On Friday, Boswell went 1-for-3, scoring the tying run in the fifth inning. On Saturday, he combined to go 3-for-8 and brought in two runs in the first game of the doubleheader. In the third inning, Boswell laid down a successful squeeze bunt to draw the Longhorns to within one of the Owls. Then, in the ninth, he ripped a double to left-center field to again get Texas to within one run.

Shaw comes through as game one hero

Senior outfielder Collin Shaw didn’t take long to make an impact for the Longhorns. 

With Friday’s game tied 1–1 in the top of the seventh, Shaw stepped up to the plate with runners on second and third and a new Rice pitcher on the mound. Shaw then drilled a double to right field, scoring the two runners, which proved to be the winning runs for the Longhorns. He then added an RBI double in the first game Saturday. 

After a dominant run in Omaha, Texas’ 10-inning loss to Vanderbilt on June 21 eliminated the Longhorns from the 2014 College World Series. Vanderbilt beat Virginia in the championships.

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

Last season, Texas came within one game of advancing to the College World Series final, and it hasn’t been easy to forget. 

“It took a little bit of time,” senior pitcher Parker French said. “It definitely stung and hurt.” 

In June, Vanderbilt, the eventual national champion, captured a 10th-inning walk-off infield single to end the Longhorns’ hope of a sixth national championship. But, as fall practice begins this season, Texas will look to start its season strong. 

“I don’t think there’s much of a hangover effect,” French said. “I think it’s more guys are just hungry. We all have a common goal, we know what that is. We got a little bit of taste of success last year, but we’re not done, and we want more, and I think that’s the biggest thing.” 

The Longhorns know they must work hard in order to repeat last season’s success. 

“The first day is exciting, but there is a lot of hard work to be done, so we’re ready to get after it,” senior outfielder Collin Shaw said. 

Last year’s team was built on a basis of solidarity, which helped the group make a deep run into the postseason. With the addition of 15 freshmen, however, the upperclassmen must show leadership and unify the team — a  process Texas is taking day-by-day. 

“I know what we’re going to do today, then we’re going to see how they respond to it, and then we’ll decide what we’re going to do tomorrow, and you just take it a day at a time,” head coach Augie Garrido said. 

Texas isn’t worried about added pressure or expectations this year. Instead, Garrido said the team is focused on the task at hand, with thoughts of last season’s bitter end still in their heads. 

“I’m not over [the World Series loss] yet,” Garrido said. “I don’t want to get over it. I want to be motivated by it. I’m excited to get us started.”

Although the season doesn’t start until February, Texas hopes to start eliminating its shortcomings now. Falling short last year may be the motivation the Longhorns need.

“Like anything — whether it’s a failure or a success — you can use that for the future,” French said. “You can learn from anything … so, we’ll use those experiences moving forward.” 

Junior pitcher Parker French

Photo Credit: Joe Capraro | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns scored runs in three straight innings to take control of their elimination game against Louisville and win, 4-1, at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha Monday.

Junior pitcher Parker French got the start and responded with seven and a third innings of quality pitching, being responsible for the only Cardinals’ run in the eighth.

Louisville’s Anthony Kidston allowed three runs to score en route to a loss, the first of his collegiate career.

The Longhorns struck first in the third inning after a double by freshman third baseman Zane Gurwitz who eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by sophomore leftfielder Ben Johnson.

Texas scored again the next inning following back-to-back singles by sophomore shortstop C.J Hinojosa and junior rightfielder Collin Shaw. Senior designated hitter Madison Carter bunted the runners over, and freshman first baseman Kacy Clemens  drove in Hinojosa when he reached on an error.

In the fifth, senior centerfielder Mark Payton drew a walk and was eventually able to score thanks to two succeeding errors by the Cardinals.

French pitched smoothly through seven but ran into some problems in the eighth when he walked a batter then hit the next. He got the out at first on the following sacrifice bunt, but was pulled for sophomore pitcher Travis Duke after that.

Duke surrendered the Cardinals first run, but managed to stop the damage at that and wasn’t touched by the five batters he faced.

Texas tacked on an insurance run in the ninth thanks to another Cardinals error, their fourth of the game. Texas only left seven on base Monday, compared to 12 in Saturday’s loss, as the Longhorns took advantage of Louisville’s mistakes.

With the win, Texas survives to see another game and will face the loser of tonight’s Vanderbilt vs. UC Irvine contest to try to keep their season alive. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday night.

Texas knocked off Rice 3-2 in 11 innings to remain undefeated in the Houston Regional on Saturday.

Both teams went down in order in the first inning, but the Longhorns threatened in the first. Freshman catch Tres Barrera reached first and advanced to second on an error, but was out at third base after a failed bunt by senior designated hitter Madison Carter.  Carter advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt, but the Texas hitters were unable to drive him home.

The Owls scored one in the bottom of the first on two hits, but left two on base as junior pitcher Parker French managed to pitch Texas out of a jam.

The Longhorns answered the Owls in the sixth inning, but running errors prevented them from taking control. Sophomore leftfielder Ben Johnson started off the inning with an infield single but he was subsequently picked off by Rice’s ace Blake Fox. That first out was followed by a double by senior centerfielder Mark Payton, that probably would’ve scored Johnson, but extended Payton’s on-base streak to 97 games. Barrera drove Payton home on a double of his own but Texas failed to produce another run.

Rice answered with a run of their own, thanks to a single, a sacrifice bunt and a double that gave them a 2-1 lead.

Texas had an opportunity to tie the game in the seventh inning after freshman third baseman Zane Gurwitz reached on a single.  Gurwitz advanced to second on a wild pitch that was right in front of the catcher, but was thrown out at third after being too aggressive. Junior second baseman Brooks Marlow followed with a single that would’ve scored Gurwitz.  Rice rattled off two hits in the bottom of their inning, but junior leftfielder Collin Shaw gunned out the Rice runner at third to relieve the threat.

The Longhorns tied the game in the eighth inning with a Payton double and Barrera single that put runners on the corners with no outs. After Carter struck out, sophomore shortstop CJ Hinojosa drove home Payton on a sacrifice fly that was hit just deep enough to score the run.

Texas nearly scored in the ninth inning after, Marlow pounded a ball that just missed leaving the park, but he was stranded at second.

Texas led off the 11th inning with a double by Gurwitz, which was followed by a Marlow single driving in the run.  Marlow tied a career-high with four hits in the contest.  The Longhorns retired the side in the bottom half of the inning to earn the win.

Junior pitcher Parker French pitched a gem, throwing six and two thirds innings of six hit baseball, allowing two runs. Sophomore closer John Curtiss threw four perfect innings to get the win. 

Texas now waits the winner of the Texas A&M and Rice elimination game. The Longhorns will play at 7 PM tonight.

Thanks to a combined shutout by junior pitchers Dillon Peters and Parker French, No.22 Texas remained undefeated in the 2014 Big 12 Tournament after defeating No.11 Oklahoma State, 3-0, on Thursday night.

Peters (7-3) pitched the first five innings for the Longhorns, allowing four hits in five innings of work. French relieved Peters in the top of the sixth, pitching four scoreless innings while allowing just one hit to record his first save of the season.

Freshman first baseman Kacy Clemens was the star of the game at the plate, batting in all three of Texas’ runs. Clemens also made impressive plays with his glove, particularly on a difficult throw from Peters in the top of the fourth.

The Longhorns struck first in the bottom of the second when Clemens hit home senior designated hitter Madison Carter.  They threatened again in the fourth and seventh, but were unable to get a run across despite two runners on base.

In the bottom of the eighth Texas put a couple of insurance runs on the board, after loading the bases with one out. Clemens hit a hard single to the shortstop, whose errant throw to second base allowed a second Texas run to score on the play.

Senior centerfielder Mark Payton extended his on-base streak to 93 games, tying a Big 12 record after reaching base three times in four plate appearances.

The Longhorns are next scheduled to play at 12:30 tomorrow and will take on the winner of tonight's game between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. The Longhorns will only need to win once on Saturday to advance to the Championship on Sunday.

Senior outfielder Mark Payton posed a fierce offensive threat at the plate this weekend at UFCU Disch-Faulk Field. Hitting 8-for-10 with five walks, a triple, four RBI and two runs in the series, Payton lifted the Longhorns to 2-1 against Stanford. 

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

Hitting .800 with four RBIs, senior outfielder Mark Payton lifted the Longhorns (5-3) to two wins in their three-game weekend series against Stanford (3-4).

“I’m just keeping it simple,” Payton said after going 3-for-3 in Game 2. “I’m just going up there and looking for a pitch to hit, and, if the guy in front of me and behind me is getting on base, then I know I’ll get one to hit eventually.”

Texas fell behind Stanford early in Game 1 when the Cardinal drove in a run in the top of the first inning off of junior Parker French, but, after responding with a run of its own in the bottom, Texas never relinquished control.

The Longhorns erupted for five runs in the second inning and led the entire game, with the only Stanford threat coming in the top of the 8th. The Cardinal offense cut its deficit to 7-3, but Texas won 9-3, buoyed by Payton’s four-hit, three-RBI performance.

“[Payton] is really playing the game at a high and mature level right now,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “He is just hitting the ball where it is pitched. He is ready to hit on every pitch, and he is letting the ones outside of the zone go.”

The Longhorns started the bats early in a wild Game 2, securing a 2-0 lead after the first inning that lasted until the top of the 7th when Stanford’s two-run double tied it up. Texas took the lead back with its own 7th-inning run, but Stanford tied the game again half an inning later.

With two outs and the score tied at three in the bottom of the 9th, sophomore C.J. Hinojosa stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. Hinojosa saw three pitches, bringing the count to one ball and two strikes, before a wild pitch brought in Collin Shaw for the walk-off run.

Following dominant performances by Texas starters in the first two games — French threw six innings while giving up just four hits and one run in Game 1, while Dillon Peters gave up just two runs in seven innings pitched in Game 2 — Stanford found its groove, taking Game 3 11-5 while outhitting the Longhorns 11-7.

Texas’ only threat came in the bottom of the sixth inning when a Zane Gurwitz double and a sacrifice fly by Brooks Marlow cut the Cardinal lead to five runs.

“We played good baseball today,” Payton said. “They just got a few big hits that we didn’t.”

The most excitement came when Garrido was ejected in the third inning after arguing a balk call on reliever Travis Duke.

“I want them to know that I’m going to fight for them,” Garrido said. “We’re asking them to fight for each other and we want them to know that the coaches are going to fight for them too.”

Despite the obvious frustration of Game 3, Garrido raved about his team’s resiliency in the first two games.

“We’re responding,” Garrido said. “To get that kind of instinct going and that kind of teamwork going is really challenging, but we have got it started.”

Texas will look to re-enter the win column when it hosts UTPA on Tuesday.

The starting pitching lived up to the Longhorns’ expectations, allowing just one earned run on the weekend in Berkeley, Calif.

Senior outfielder Mark Payton didn’t disappoint, smacking three extra base hits while hitting .529, but errors doomed the Longhorns in two of their games.

Despite allowing just four earned runs on the weekend, No. 22 Texas won just two of four games against California to start off its season.

The Texas errors began to hurt the Longhorns in the third inning of the first game, after junior starter Parker French threw away a sacrifice bunt, allowing runners at first and third with no outs. French escaped the jam allowing just a sacrifice fly, but the unearned runs began to pile up.

 Cal led off until a double before French threw away another sacrifice bunt to push the score to 2-0 and open the floodgates for a big fifth inning. After an error by freshman first baseman Kacy Clemens, a wild pitch by French and an error by freshman third baseman Andy McGuire, it was a 6-0 game all of a sudden. Cal added one more in the eighth to win the game 7-0.

The second game of the series Saturday came down to the wire. The Longhorns jumped out to an early lead in the second inning on a sacrifice fly, before junior second baseman Brooks Marlow committed an error in the third that led to yet another unearned run and a tie game.

The game remained that way for seven innings as junior Dillon Peters allowed just five hits. But in the eighth against junior Justin Peters, Cal pushed across the winning run on a single up the middle to win 2-1.

Payton and McGuire’s bats carried the Longhorns to their first victory in the tail-end of the double-header Saturday. The duo accounted for all six of the Longhorns’ runs while junior Lukas Schiraldi went seven innings strong, allowing just one earned run in the 6-2 win. 

The Longhorns won the fourth 5-0. After freshman Zane Gurwitz opened up the scoring for the Longhorns in the sixth, Payton helped add some insurance runs with an RBI triple. Senior Nathan Thornhill carried the Longhorns on the mound, allowing just four hits as he kept the Bears scoreless.

After receiving much praise in the preseason from Garrido, freshman catcher Tres Barerra struggled mightily, striking out in key situations and hitting into a costly double play while recording just one hit on the weekend. Garrido moved him down to eighth in the order, with Clemens replacing him in the four hole.

Game One: Starter Parker French set a career high with seven strikeouts and allowed just one run in more than seven innings. The Texas offense was unable to provide any run support, though, as Harrison Musgrave pitched a complete-game shutout while striking out nine to lead West Virginia to a 1-0 victory. 

Game Two: The Longhorns put together back-to-back five-run innings in the fourth and fifth en route to a 12-0 victory. Jacob Felts and Ty Marlow each recorded four RBIs, and left-hander Dillon Peters struck out six in eight scoreless innings to pick up his fourth win.

Game Three: Closer Corey Knebel pitched three scoreless innings before allowing three runs in the 10th to West Virginia in Texas’ 6-3 extra-innings loss. The Longhorns recorded just four hits in the game, with only two coming after the fifth inning. 

By The Numbers
5: Consecutive batters to reach base against Knebel in a three-run 10th inning Sunday
9: Number of batters starter Nathan Thornhill retired to begin Sunday’s game
4: Combined runs allowed by Texas starting pitchers in 21 1/3 innings in three games against West Virginia
1: Number of triples needed by Mark Payton to break into Texas’ all-time career top ten for triples. After his triple in Sunday’s game, the junior stands at 12 during his three seasons at Texas. 

Stock Up: 
Jacob Felts drove in a career-high four runs Saturday, with three of them coming on his first home run since 2011. The catcher added a double on Sunday and has reached base in four of his last six plate appearances.

Stock Down:  
Weston Hall struck out three times and grounded into a double play Sunday after an 0-for-5 effort on Saturday. Hall is hitless in his last nine at-bats and has just two hits in his last 16 at-bats.
The Longhorns take on Houston at 6 p.m. at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday night. Texas dropped the first match-up against the Cougars this season, 4-3, on March 19 in Houston.