Here's a quick look, with plenty of notes, quotes and highlights from the Texas Longhorns' 1-0 win over the Prairie View A&M Panthers in front of 5,189 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin on Tuesday evening.
Augie Garrido needed a solid outing from his pitching staff and some late-inning heroics at the plate to get by Prairie View A&M.
How the Longhorns (23-20) Won
Texas unexpectedly had to grind out a win against lowly Prairie View A&M. The Texas pitchers were doing enough to keep the Panthers scoreless while it took the Longhorn bats until the seventh inning to finally come through with a key hit to break the 0-0 tie. It was a game Texas was supposed to win going away, but in a season full of offensive struggles it really comes as no surprise that the Horns needed quality pitching to keep things in order as the Texas batters continued to fail at the plate.
How the Panthers (20-21) Lost
They were so close to pulling off a huge upset - they even outhit the Longhorns eight to five on the night. Senior starter Stephen Lunsford went eight innings, spacing out the five Texas hits and not giving up a walk, but a two-out error in the seventh inning by the Prairie View A&M second baseman proved to be costly. Two of Texas' five hits came after the error, the last one resulting in the game winner for the Longhorns.
We'll give this to the Texas pitching staff. Starter Josh Urban went five innings, allowing four hits and a walk. Travis Duke - who moved to 4-0 on the season - went the next two innings and allowed three hits but also struck out three Panthers. Ty Marlow and Corey Knebel tag-teamed the final two innings to preserve the shutout for Texas. It wasn't a dominating effort on the mound with just four total strikeouts, but with the bats going silent for most of the night Texas needed a big night from its pitchers and it got it Tuesday.
It Was Over When...
Jacob Felts scored in the seventh to give the Longhorns the 1-0 lead. The Longhorn designated hitter hustled down the line on a two-out grounder to second, and when Prairie View's Andre Oliver misplayed the ball Felts was able to take first. Brooks Marlow and Jeremy Montalbano followed the error with singles to left, the latter of which was enough to score Felts from second for what would be the game winner.
To Marlow and Montalbano for giving Texas a two-out rally it desperately needed against a team it absolutely needed to beat. The Longhorns' woes with runners in scoring position and two-out rallies are well documented, but the bottom third of Texas' lineup produced when the game got tight in the seventh.
To the lifeless Texas batters for the majority of the game. The Horns had no pop in their bats Tuesday night against a .500 baseball team from the Southwest Athletic Conference. Texas registered a mere five hits against Prairie View starter Stephen Lunsford who was making his first start of the season and only the second start of his four-year career. The Horns finally broke through in the seventh, but that was the only inning in which they put multiple runners on base and really threatened the Panthers.
This goes to the error that set up Texas' winning run. Andre Oliver made a few great plays at second base throughout the game before botching a relatively easy play for what would have been the final out in the seventh inning on a ground ball by Felts.
Texas' potent stretch of C.J Hinojosa, Mark Payton and Erich Weiss went a combined 1-for-11 - a Mark Payton single to center in the fourth was the lone hit. The Longhorns struggle to score runs as it is, but it's not surprising one of their quietest days at the plate this season came on a day when that three-man stretch made very little noise.
Stat(s) of the Night
Mark Payton has reached base in 32 straight games after his single... Travis Duke's ERA this season is now 0.58 after pitching two scoreless innings Tuesday.
Story of the Night
What almost was. This has been a forgettable season thus far for Augie Garrido's bunch, but it could have taken a really ugly turn Tuesday had Oliver not made that error at second or had Marlow or Montalbano not come through with two-out hits. Lunsford completely shut down the Texas bats by throwing controlled and accurate pitches all night, and it almost was enough to give Prairie View a historic win in Austin. Texas' pitching staff let up a number of hits, but only once were the Panthers able to get two in the same inning. It wasn't an aesthetically pleasing game to watch by any stretch, but at this point for the Longhorns a win is a win and they'll take a 1-0 win over Prairie View A&M every time.
Augie Garrido on how surprised he was the game was so close:
"Yeah it surprised me. We're talking about a ten-run rule before the game starts and we're holding on for dear life in the seventh inning. It surprised me a lot."
Augie Garrido on the big error in the seventh inning:
"That little second baseman looked up just as he was trying to catch the ball to see where [Felts] was and he was surprised he was running so hard and wasn't turning it into an automatic out and that had something to do with him bobbling it. Hustle played into."
Augie Garrido on the season going forward:
"I think it's a matter of them getting their confidence and we've been waiting for it and it hasn't happened. Only in hindsight will we know if it does or doesn't. We're running out of time for sure."