It took almost six innings, but Texas was finally able to get a hit off Texas State starter Taylor Black when Jacob Felts sent a ball up the middle of the infield for a single in the fifth.
The No. 24 Longhorns (21-13) were retired quickly after that, but the hit proved that Black was beatable, and it really took the pressure off of the Texas offense. The Longhorns were able to crack him right away in the next inning.
“I think it really did [take some pressure off],” Felts said. “[The offense] felt a little bit of pressure coming into this game from the weekend. We had a decent weekend, but with the slow start it built up and the hit did take a little bit of pressure off.”
The breakthrough started out with a shot off of the bat of Brooks Marlow that found its way into the corner for a leadoff double. The next batter, Mark Payton, was able to finally put Texas on the scoreboard with a single down the right field line.
The rally stalled from there, but the quick score turned out to be enough for a pitching staff, throwing one of its best games of the season. Five Texas pitchers combined to go nine innings scoreless, while only allowing four hits.
“We were going out there and getting ahead of batters and finishing them off with quality pitches,” said freshman John Curtiss, who threw three innings of no hit ball in the outing. “Skip calls all of our pitches so we just have conviction on all of those. From that point forward we just trust our defense, and they did an excellent job behind us tonight.”
The pitching staff had to have a great game, because the Tuesday night game turned into a classic example of a pitchers’ duel. Black was dealing early, but the Texas pitchers were up to the test.
Freshman Dillon Peters started out the game and had a solid outing, giving up only one hit in two innings of work. From there, the Longhorns usual Tuesday night schedule of using multiple pitchers kicked in, and four Texas pitchers saw the mound over the next seven innings.
Austin Dicharry was next up for the Longhorns and had the rockiest outing of any Texas pitcher. He allowed three hits in his inning of work, but was bailed out by some impressive defensive plays by his catcher, Felts, who picked off a runner at first and threw out a runner on a steal attempt, which erased back-to-back singles.
After that, the Texas bullpen was unhittable, literally. Curtiss, Hoby Milner and Corey Knebel combined to throw five innings of no hit ball, and really shut down any hope that Texas State had in rallying back.
In the seventh inning, the Longhorn offense was able to add an insurance run after a Felts single scored Alex Silver, who was on base with a leadoff double.
The run signaled the end of Black’s night after allowing two runs and throwing over a 100 pitches. But, the Texas hitters did give him credit for the job he did keeping the team off balance throughout the outing with his off-speed pitches.
“He threw a great game,” said outfielder Mark Payton. “He kept us off balance pretty good with his curveball, and was throwing strikes with it and making us chase it in the dirt. But I think we really made an adjustment to it late in the game on making him elevate the curve ball, and all four of our hits that led to runs were off of curve balls.”