third baseman

Junior outfielder Ben Johnson swings away at a pitch Tuesday against Texas A&M Prairie View. Johnson went 2-for-4 in the game with two RBIs, four stolen bases and also scored four times.
Photo Credit: Graeme Hamilton | Daily Texan Staff

After a series sweep with little offensive production, Texas’ bats started early Tuesday. 

To lead off the first inning, junior left fielder Ben Johnson ripped a ball through Prairie View A&M third baseman Connor Wrye’s legs to open up the game for Texas. Although Johnson’s hit was scored an error, it was the spark for Texas’ offense, which scored three runs in the first inning and plated another nine runs in a 12–4 win over the Panthers.

“[My lead-off at-bat] set the tone early,” Johnson said. “Obviously we want to score a lot of runs, and we did that tonight. That’s the goal every game. I think it was one of those things, no matter what the situations was, we were going to keep putting it on them.”

But it wasn’t easy sailing for the Longhorns. Texas’ sophomore starting pitcher Josh Sawyer produced a solid outing until he ran into trouble in the fourth inning.

Sawyer hit the leadoff batter and walked the next to start the inning. But the sophomore made his biggest mistake when he threw a ball over the head of redshirt freshman third baseman Bret Boswell, attempting to throw out the leadoff runner on a bunt. 

The error allowed a run to score and was the first run in the Panthers’ biggest inning. Prairie View A&M drew three more walks in the inning and scored four runs to tie the game at 4–4.

The Longhorns answered in the bottom frame as senior right fielder Collin Shaw started the inning with a leadoff walk and then stole second base. Johnson singled Shaw home and Texas took a 5–4 lead that it would not surrender.

“After we had that walk in the park in the fourth, the offense continued to stay focused and that was a really a good sign – the fact that they didn’t panic or come out of character,” head coach Augie Garrido said.

Texas’ offensive onslaught continued in the sixth inning when Johnson opened the inning with his second base hit of the ball game and a steal — a season-high eighth of the game. Sophomore center fielder Zane Gurwitz followed with a walk, and sophomore catcher Tres Barrera scored Johnson to push the lead to 7–4. Texas added another run in the inning off a sacrifice fly from freshman shortstop Joe Baker.

Senior second baseman Brooks Marlow added the Longhorns’ final runs in the ninth with a two-run bomb that barely missed the Taco Shack “Free Taco” sign in the right field bullpen. Longhorn senior pitcher Ty Marlow finished off the game, and Texas secured its 23rd win of the season to move a game above .500 before its weekend matchup with Texas Tech.

“Every win is important,” Baker said. “We just wanted to get out there and take care of things like we should’ve all year. We had a down year but it was good to get out there and get a win. Hopefully it’ll propel us in the next series.”

Despite the four run fourth inning, the Texas pitching staff only allowed one hit. Freshman pitcher Jake McKenzie earned the win after relieving sophomore pitcher Jon Malmin in the fourth inning.

The Longhorns will play their final home series starting Friday against the Red Raiders.

UC Irvine's Grant Palmer (27) reaches second base on a double against Texas second baseman Brooks Marlow (8), in the second inning of an NCAA baseball College World Series game in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, June 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Dave Weaver)

Photo Credit: AP Exchange | Daily Texan Staff

The Texas Longhorns gave up five hits and three runs in the eighth inning, blowing a 1-0 lead, as they fell to the UC Irvine Anteaters, 3-1, in the opening game of the College World Series.

Senior pitcher Nathan Thornhill pitched a solid seven and a third innings, but was tagged with the loss after allowing two runs.

The Anteaters threatened in the first inning when third baseman Andrew Sparks singled  and advanced to second on an error and reached third with one out. Thornhill pitched out of that jam to strand the runner at third as he would do in three of UC Irvine’s first four innings.

The Longhorns had a chance to get an early lead off of Andrew Morales, after junior second baseman Brooks Marlow and sophomore outfielder Ben Johnson both walked. Senior centerfielder Mark Payton bunted them over but freshman catcher Tres Barrera and sophomore shortstop C.J Hinojosa both were retired to strand two in scoring position.

Texas struck first in the  bottom of the second when junior rightfielder Collin Shaw doubled and senior designated hitter Madison Carter bunted him over to third. Freshman first baseman Kacy Clemens managed to reach base, leading to freshman third baseman Zane Gurwitz who drove in Shaw on an infield bunt single.

Texas had the bases loaded with one out but couldn’t produce a second run, a common theme as the team stranded 12 on base, and only hit 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position in the game.

UC Irvine also wasted plenty of opportunities, leaving six on base, but managed to get three across the plate in the decisive eighth inning.  Texas allowed three extra base hits in the contest after only surrendering two such hits in its first six NCAA Tournament games.

Texas will face the loser of tonight’s game between Vanderbilt and Louisville at 2 p.m. Monday. The Longhorns now sit one loss away from elimination, and will need to win four straight to reach the Championship.

Mark Payton’s record on-base streak of 101 games ended in the loss, as he went 0-for-4 and was out on a sacrifice bunt.

 

When the Texas Rangers reached their first-ever World Series appearance last season, not having the home-field advantage took a toll on them. They dropped both games in San Francisco before losing the series in five games.

Rangers manager Ron Washington will lead the American League at this year’s All-Star game, where the American League will try to redeem themselves after having their 14-game winning streak snapped by the National League in last season’s Midsummer Classic.

2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton secured a spot in the starting lineup of the 2011 All-Star Game, which will take place in Phoenix, Ariz., on July 12. Each team’s rosters were announced Sunday, and three of Hamilton’s Texas teammates will join him in Phoenix — pitcher C.J. Wilson, third baseman Adrian Beltre and designated hitter
Michael Young. Hamilton edged out Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury for the starting spot by just 36,727 votes.

Hard-hitting right fielder Hunter Pence was the only member of the Houston Astros chosen to be on the NL’s All-Star squad.

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. Bautista was the leading vote-getter. Bautista, who led the majors with 54 home runs last year and leads the majors this year with 26, blasted Ken Griffey Jr.’s 1994 vote record of 6,069,688 with 7,454,753 votes.

The New York Yankees led all squads with six All-Star selections, including four starters — second baseman Robinson Cano, third baseman Alex Rodriguez, shortstop Derek Jeter and center fielder Curtis Granderson. However, the Yankees ace and 11-game winner, CC Sabathia, did not make the cut. Last year’s AL- and NL-leading vote-getters, Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer and St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols were also left out.

This year’s All-Star game will feature plenty of fresh faces as well, as 24 players are participating for the first time.

The Rangers are well-represented at this year’s All-Star game. If they make a return trip to the Fall Classic, home-field advantage would help. But to earn that, they’ll need a good showing at the Midsummer Classic.