Texas evens series with offensive barrage, some good luck

Daniel Clay

The Longhorns managed to play themselves out of a season opening win on Friday night.

But Saturday, Texas took advantage of a change of heart on the part of lady luck to pull out an 11-2 win over UNLV — the 800th victory for head coach Augie Garrido at Texas.

A strong season debut by senior pitcher Ty Culbreth, compounded by five costly UNLV errors, were more than enough for a revived Longhorn offense.

“That’s the team that I’ve been talking about,” said head coach Augie Garrido. “They responded in a positive way to the lack of success last night and that’s what we were hoping for.”

The offensive barrage that saw every starter score a run was helped along by a UNLV comedy of errors that began in the first inning.

After three-hitter sophomore outfielder Patrick Mathis dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt to put runners at second and third with one out, junior designated hitter Tres Barrera legged out an infield single and then advanced on a throwing error by the shortstop to give the Longhorns their first run of the game.

Sophomore catcher Michael Cantu took advantage of another free base when his fly ball to left was juggled by Rebel outfielder Payton Suier leading to two more runs and an early 3-0 advantage.

“It’s a lot easier to throw when you have a three run lead,” Culbreth said. “The guys came out swinging today.”

But things got really out of hand in the fourth inning. Texas junior center fielder Zane Gurwitz led off the frame with a rocket over the head of UNLV center fielder Keyon Allen. As Gurwitz flew towards third, the relay throw from short sailed into the dugout allowing the junior to jog homewards and extend the Longhorn lead to 5-1.

After a night in which the Texas pitchers allowed eleven walks, Culbreth cruised through his five innings of work. A fourth-inning solo home run off the bat of UNLV designated hitter Andrew Yazdanbakhsh was as the only blemish on his otherwise stellar winning line.

The senior got into a bit of trouble in the top of the second when UNLV put two on with one out, but responded by taking matters into his own hands and blowing six straight strikes past the next two batters to end the frame.

A smattering of UNLV errors in the latter innings and an eighth inning blast to the right field power alley by sophomore Patrick Mathis padded the Longhorn lead and handed Garrido his milestone win as Texas head coach and first of the 2016 season.

“I’m not modest, and I’m not a martyr or any of those things that I probably should be, but the truth of the matter is those (wins) all belong to other people,” Garrido said. “We as coaches become a product of the people around us.”

The Longhorns will send sophomore right-hander Connor Mayes to the hill Sunday at 1 p.m. in search of Garrido’s 801st Texas win and an opening series victory.