Baseball: Longhorns split doubleheader

Jon Parrett

Texas’ day ended better than it started, as the Longhorns beat Maryland 7-4 in the second leg of a doubleheader Saturday. Texas was down 4-1 entering the seventh inning, but used a five-run eighth to complete the comeback.

“It was a good comeback because it was a long rally, and a lot of little things had to go right to make it work, and a lot of people had to participate in it,” Texas head coach Augie Garrido said. “ Our goal is to do it inning by inning, and not wait until we’re in such a difficult position. We kind of painted ourselves in a corner.”

Andrew McKirahan picked up the win, after replacing Keifer Nuncio in the eighth inning. Maryland had a man on third base with only one out, but McKirahan struck out the next batter, and got the final out of the inning when Maryland catcher Jack Cleary grounded out.

“We came into the dugout [after the eighth inning] and I told him we were going to make a winner out of him today,” freshman outfielder Mark Payton said.

Payton did his part, doubling in the seventh inning to allow a run by second baseman Jordan Etier, and then knotting two RBIs in the eighth on a ground-rule double. Texas used the momentum built in the seventh inning to sustain a run and complete the comeback in the eighth.

“Once we got some motivation, we picked up our momentum and showed some more energy,” Payton said. “That’s what can happen every inning if we have that.”

Fellow freshman Erich Weiss continued his brilliant start to the season by going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run. After the first three games, Weiss is hitting .875 with three runs and four RBIs.

“The best players on the field are the younger guys,” Garrido said. “They just go out, keep it simple and play ball. That’s what they did and that’s why they were successful.”

Things didn’t go as well for one of Texas’ elder players, as Cole Green got off to a rough start in the opening game of the doubleheader. Green only lasted four innings, and the Longhorns lost 10-1.

“Obviously, it wasn’t what I wanted or expected; it was a little rough,” Green said. “I can’t say I was nervous but I wasn’t myself. It’s just one of those days where, personally, I didn’t do well.”

Garrido said Green didn’t do well adjusting to distractions.

“He put a lot pressure on himself, trying to do too much,” Garrido said. “Trying to not get hit, to get people out, trying to get those kind of results; you can’t pitch that way.”