Here's a quick look, with plenty of notes, quotes and highlights from the Texas Longhorns' 8-2 win - Augie Garrido's 700th as the head coach of the University of Texas - over the Nebraska Cornhuskers in front of 6,004 fans at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin on Friday night.
Corey Knebel recorded six strikeouts and allowed only one hit in his two innings on Friday night.
How the Longhorns (4-1) Won
It started off slow for the Horns to open the series against Nebraska. Husker starter Brandon Pierce kept the Texas batters relatively in check until the sixth inning when sophomore first baseman Codey McElroy laced a bases-loaded, two-out pitch out of the left side of the infield to score two runs and put Texas on top 3-2. The Horns would blow the game open in the eighth inning when they batted around and tacked on five runs against the Nebraska relievers. Texas got another good performance from ace pitcher Parker French who threw 6.1 innings, striking out six and allowing two runs on eight hits. He struggled with his command a little, but after the second inning he went to his change-up more and found a lot of success with it. The deadly combination of Ty Marlow and Corey Knebel came in over the final 2.2 innings to slam the door on any potential Nebraska comeback.
How Cornhuskers (0-5) Lost
They started the game strong with two runs in the second inning on a string of four straight hits off of French, but after that inning the Huskers only mustered five hits the rest of the way. Nebraska came into the game having struck out 38 times through four games and added to that by going down 12 more times by way of the K against French and closer Corey Knebel (six each). It was still a game until the eighth inning - Nebraska even had the tying run on second in the top of the inning on Knebel - but rough outings by relievers Michael Hoppes and Tyler King allowed the Horns to add five insurance runs and coast the rest of the way to the win.
Texas' 6-foot-6 first baseman had the best day of his young Longhorn career with a clean slate on the field and a 2-for-3 performance at the plate that included his two-run double in the sixth and a run in Texas' big eighth inning. McElroy's two RBI were the first two of his Longhorn career. His numbers haven't been great in the batter's box so far, but he looks comfortable, and his big frame in the field has come in handy on more than one occasion already this year.
It Was Over When...
Texas batted around in the eighth inning. The Husker pitchers allowed three hits, hit two batters and walked two more in the home half of the inning to take a tight 3-2 game and turn it into an 8-2 blowout for the Longhorns. Nebraska pitchers Hoppes and King combined to pitch one inning, allowing five runs on three hits.
Texas pitchers Parker French, Ty Marlow and Corey Knebel. French wasn't as dominant as he was in his first start of the year, but he settled in after allowing the two runs in the second inning to finish with six strikeouts and one walk. When the Horns got in trouble in the seventh with two on and one out, Garrido turned to the reliever that's already bailed him out twice before in this young season. Marlow came in and retired the only two batters he faced to set things up for Knebel in the eighth and ninth. Texas' All-American closer has put the rough first two appearances of 2013 fully behind him, coming in Friday night and striking out six batters for all six of his outs.
After a great performance this is hard to find, but using Mark Payton - the team's best hitter to start the year - to sacrifice an out with a runner on first and no outs in the sixth inning was questionable. I'll defer to the guy that has won 700 games as the head coach of the Texas Longhorns, but I might let my best hitter swing away in that spot.
Ty Marlow. Not so much for tonight, but for the first three appearances of his Longhorn career. He is absolutely fearless on the mound, no matter the situation. When Texas is in a bind with runners on base and needing to make a change, if he's available to pitch, there is no question who Garrido will turn to.
The weather. It was cold and it was windy. Outside of that there wasn't much to be disappointed about Friday night from the Longhorns' perspective.
Stat(s) of the Night
Augie Garrido won his 700th game as the head coach of the University of Texas. Quite an accomplishment.... At 4-1 Texas is off to its best start since 2009 when it started 5-0.
Story of the Night
Anybody looking at the final score won't know this was a close game for seven and a half innings. McElroy's two-run single looked like it was going to be the deciding hit until the Longhorn batters pounced on an opportunity in the eighth inning to blow the game open. Despite the cold temperature and the steady wind, the Texas pitchers put together another strong performance to stymie the Husker bats to give the Horns a win in the series opener.
Augie Garrido on winning his 700th game at Texas:
"This sport is the ultimate team sport so quite honestly it represents all the players who are the most important element to any kind of winning as the performers. I sincerely mean that, and I recognize that it's about them. ... Its meaningful because it represents so many people in so many positive ways."
Garrido on the game:
"It was a tough night to hit. We stayed with it and finally capitalized. That's the first nine-man rally that we've had. That's one of our objectives to try to be able to do that as often as possible. And tonight they did it."
Garrido on Parker's early command issues:
"I think the cold weather. The Texas players are really at a disadvantage. They've grown up all their lives playing in hot weather, and so they get remarkably better when the weather warms up."
Parker French on his performance:
"Just got the ball elevated. Threw it at the belt and they're going to do that to you, they were aggressive to the fastball the whole night. Just kind of settled in after that. Started throwing the ball at the knees and mixing the change-up."
French on the weather:
"It doesn't matter, you've got to pitch in it. Not gonna make excuses or anything. You just gotta get prepared, stay warm in the dugout. Our training staff does a good job keeping us warm. And just go out there and compete."
Codey McElroy on fighting back from 0-2 count to get his RBI single
"I just worked hard, got back, full count I got a pitch to hit and I put a good swing on it and scored two runs. Pretty exciting."
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