Thornhill, Longhorns take series sweep against Cornhuskers

Peter Sblendorio

A week after failing to make it through the fourth inning in his first start of the season, junior Nathan Thornhill was determined to provide the Longhorns with a quality performance.

He was not going to allow a lackluster output by the Texas offense get in his way.

“Our mentality as pitchers is to be cage fighters,” Thornhill said. “We don’t really think about the offense, we just go out there and pound the zone.”

The right-hander made a habit of pounding the zone in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Nebraska, throwing 49 of his 80 pitches for strikes. He cruised through seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits to go along with three strikeouts.

Thornhill allowed just four batters to reach base, and he sent the Cornhuskers down in order in four of the first five innings. The sophomore improved to 1-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.53.

Closer Corey Knebel pitched the final two innings of the game to record his third save of the season. The right-hander struck out seven in his two saves over the weekend, lowering his ERA to 2.25.  

Texas scored its first run of the game in the fourth inning on an RBI double by Mark Payton to score Taylor Stell. The Longhorns would tack on another run in the sixth inning on a Jacob Felts single to send Payton home.

Payton went 3-for-3 on the afternoon to raise his average to a team-high .500 on the season. His fourth inning RBI was his tenth of the season, which also leads the team through seven games.

With the win, the Longhorns were able to complete the three game sweep of the Cornhuskers to improve to 6-1 in 2013. This marks the best start of the season for Texas since 2009, when the Longhorns won their first 11 games.

Texas won Friday’s game, 8-2, after a five-run eighth inning backed a strong outing by starter Parker French. C.J. Hinojosa led the Longhorns to victory Saturday with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to score Erich Weiss.

Head coach Augie Garrido said he was encouraged by the play of his team this weekend, as he believed Nebraska did not make many mistakes to help Texas win any of the three games.

“They didn’t walk anybody. They didn’t make any errors. They didn’t give use any extra bases. They didn’t misjudge any fly balls,” Garrido said. “There was no luck involved in it at all. Every run we got we had to earn. You have to learn how to win games when in fact there is no help from the opponent.”

The Longhorns next game will be Tuesday when they take on Sam Houston State. The game will take place at UFCU Disch-Falk Field and is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.

Published on February 25, 2013 as "Texas sweeps Huskers in series".