French dominant as Horns top Cowboys in Game 1 of doubleheader

Christian Corona

For the second straight game, Texas' starting pitcher was stellar. The Longhorns, unlike Friday night, did not let their starter's outing go to waste.

Freshman Parker French scattered five hits and did not allow a run in a career-high eight scoreless innings, improving his record to 4-1 and lowering his ERA from 3.92 to 3.31. Texas' offense provided French with plenty of run support, pushing two runs across in the fourth inning and scoring three more while batting around in the sixth. A day after falling to Oklahoma State in extra innings, the No. 23 Longhorns (19-13, 8-3) bounced back with a 5-0 victory over the Cowboys (18-15, 6-5) Saturday afternoon in the first game of a doubleheader at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

After French's outstanding performance, the Dripping Springs product extended his streak of scoreless innings at home to a staggering 25 1/3. In 26 innings at other venues, French has a 4.56 6.58 ERA. His previous four starts had all been away from home, including road starts at Oklahoma in Norman, at Kansas State in Manhattan, and at Texas Tech in Lubbock. French also allowed seven runs in a 12-2 loss to Cal at the Dell Diamond two weekends ago.

But French was brilliant Saturday, throwing 105 pitches and 75 of them for strikes. A sinkerball pitcher, French got the majority of his outs via the ground ball while striking out six and walking only one. French surrendered a leadoff single in the ninth inning before giving way to junior left-hander Hoby Milner, who induced a 4-6-3 double play before striking out Zach Fish to end the game.

Texas held a 1-0 lead when sophomore Nathan Thornhill left the game Friday night with two outs in the seventh inning. But Milner's wild pitch allowed the Cowboys to tie the game before sophomore closer Corey Knebel gave up the go-ahead runs in the 11th inning as the Longhorns fell, 3-1, in the series opener.

"It's a shame that this is a team sport," said Longhorns head coach Augie Garrido after Friday's contest. "Thornhill pitched great."

Oklahoma State held Texas scoreless through the first three innings but the Longhorns drew first blood in the fourth frame. Sophomore first baseman Alex Silver, who had his 16-game hit streak snapped Friday, singled sharply past the shortstop before senior shortstop Jordan Etier doubled to left field.

Then, senior designated hitter Kevin Lusson hit a chopper to Cowboys third baseman Mark Ginther, who threw a one-hopper to catcher Jared Womack. Ginther was charged with an error while Silver scored the first run of the game. Sophomore catcher Jacob Felts laid down a safety squeeze bunt to bring Etier home and extend the advantage to 2-0.

The top of the Longhorns lineup went down in order in the fifth inning but they sent nine batters to the plate in the sixth. Silver and Lusson singled before Felts shot a base hit up the middle to bring Silver home. Marlow drew his second walk of the contest before sophomore right fielder Mark Payton extended his streak of consecutive games reaching base to 32 with a bloop single into left field. Lusson and Felts crossed the plate to provide Texas with a pair of insurance runs.

The second game of the doubleheader, which was originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon but was moved to Saturday because inclement weather expected tomorrow, will begin at 4:05 p.m.