Marlow begins career with a bang

2012-02-19_Baseball_vs_Duke_Elisabeth_Dillon2394

Elisabeth Dillon

Brooks Marlow makes a tag on a Duke baserunner during the Longhorns’ 5-2 loss on Sunday. Marlow started at second base for Jordan Etier, who is serving a suspension.

For Brooks Marlow, one home run was a great way to start out his collegiate career, and two made it even better. But when the winningest coach in college baseball history is singing your praise, you're having a great day.

“That was the brightest spot of the day for me,” said Texas coach Augie Garrido, referencing Marlow's two homers in UT's season-opener against Duke.

“The unexpected play played a huge part in it. Where’d that come from? We hadn’t seen many home runs, so I didn’t think either one of them would go over the fence because nothing does,” he said.

Funny thing is Marlow wasn't even supposed to be the starter at second going into the season. The freshman is just filling in for the suspended Jordan Etier, who is out four games after an arrest in the fall for possession of marijuana.

But Marlow has certainly made a strong case for the starting spot when Etier comes back, or at least the opportunity to slide over to shortstop or DH.

Marlow started out his first game on Saturday afternoon against Duke in perhaps the worst way possible for a hitter, striking out swinging, but from there his day would only improve.

In his next at bat, Marlow connected on the fourth pitch and sent a screaming line drive out to right field that barely cleared the fence to sneak into the bullpen.

The next inning Marlow stepped to the plate with a runner on first and sent the ball out to right with a giant hack on an inside fastball in what looked like a replay of the homer the inning before.

“I expected a fastball in and, sure enough, he threw it,” Marlow said. “I got a good piece of bat on it and it carried over the fence. The second one, there was a runner on first so I had a job to do. I was just trying to put the barrel on the ball.”

For the Longhorns the home run is a rare thing — as a team they only hit 17 home runs all of last season — especially coming from a guy that is only 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds.

“That proves one thing — it isn't about size or how much you weight you can lift in the weight room,” Garrido said. “It's about making good contact and being aggressive at the plate and squaring up the ball.”

However, it wasn't all about the long ball for Marlow, and in the next game he played some traditional Texas small ball. In his first at bat, Marlow dropped a sac bunt to advance the runner to second. In the second inning, with a runner on third, Marlow did what the situation called for and hit a deep fly ball into left field to score the runner. Finally, in what could be his most impressive at bat of the game, the freshman worked a four-pitch walk, resisting the urge to swing against a pitcher that had been wild for much of the contest.

On Sunday Marlow's performance at the plate cooled off with the rest of his teammates in the 5-2 loss to Duke, but he still managed to go 1-4 including a couple of well-hit balls.

Printed on February 20, 2012 as: Marolow hits two homers in first game