Texas bats stay hot against Wildcats

Michael Shapiro

Texas came into the weekend series with Kansas State desperately needing an offensive boost. The Longhorns were shutout by Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Tuesday, tallying just five hits.

But the Longhorns reversed the tide for the second-straight game on Saturday, defeating the Wildcats 12-5.

The Longhorns launched three homers over the wall at Tointon Family Stadium, all of them solo shots. A flurry of additional hits kept Texas’ offensive engine going throughout the day, as the Longhorns tallied 13 hits.

“We continued to hit with runners in scoring position,” head coach Augie Garrido told 104.9 FM. “We had a lot of good at-bats and played a high quality number of innings.”

The home run parade began in the bottom of the second. Sophomore outfielder Patrick Mathis skied a home run to right center in his first at-bat of the game, giving Texas a 1-0 lead. The homer was Mathis’ fifth of the year, which leads the team.

The biggest fireworks of the afternoon came in the third. After a groundout to third to start the inning, back-to-back home runs from freshman shortstop Kody Clemens and sophomore Travis Jones gave the Longhorns a 3-0 lead.

Senior pitcher Ty Culbreth was charged with holding the Longhorns lead. Culbreth came into Saturday’s start having won in his past three appearances, giving up just four earned runs.

Through the match up’s first five frames, it looked like more of the same for Culbreth. On a windy day in Manhattan, Kansas, just two Wildcat batters were able to get balls through the Texas defense, getting just one baserunner into scoring position.

“Watching batting practice everything was flying out to left,” Culbreth said. “We tried to work them away and not let if affect us too much.”

But trouble came in the sixth. A fielder’s choice gave Kansas State its first run of the day. And with a man on first and one out, catcher Tyler Moore further cut into Texas’ lead to 5-3 with a two-run homer.

That lead expanded quickly as Texas got deeper into the Wildcat bullpen. The Longhorns drove home five more runs in the top of the seventh, highlighted by junior outfielder Zane Gurwitz. The second baseman cleared the bases with a three-run triple, his second of the year.

“He’s been swinging the bat well,” Garrido said. “He’s really calmed down and has gotten a better look at the baseball.”