Hot hitting powers Texas to 6-2 victory

Michael Shapiro

Texas’ lineup continued its recent hot streak Tuesday, driving in six runs to beat Texas State 6-2. As the Longhorns continue on their long climb towards .500, their once-anemic offense has regained strength, averaging nine runs per game while winning six of their last seven.

“We’re executing and hitting with confidence,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “Our pitch selection is much better at the plate, and we’re seeing more line drives out onto the field.”

The Longhorns got on the board from the jump Tuesday, leading 2-0 after one. Sophomore shortstop Joe Baker put the Longhorns ahead, driving home two runs with an RBI single to left. 

Baker’s run production was nothing new for the sophomore, who has been on an absolute tear of late. Coming into Tuesday’s contest, Baker went 7-15 in his past four games, driving in six RBIs en route to being named Big 12 Player of the Week. 

Texas State bounced back to tie the game in the top of the third, but the Longhorns regained the lead once again in the bottom of the frame. Junior first baseman Kacy Clemens kicked things off by sailing a wind-aided homer over the left field fence, followed by back-to-back singles to score Baker following a hit by pitch. 

“I knew I had squared it up,” Clemens said. “I got [the ball] into the wind, and luckily it got out.”

Sophomore pitcher Connor Mayes took the hill for the Longhorns but ceded the mound after three innings of two-run ball. In his place came freshman Beau Ridgeway, who tossed three scoreless innings. The right hander from the Woodlands has now gone seven of his last eight appearances without allowing a run, totaling 12.1 innings.

Following Ridgeway was another Texas youngster, redshirt sophomore Eric Dunbar. Dunbar had made just seven appearances in 40 games heading into Tuesday night but looked confident on the mound, allowing zero runs in two innings. Garrido noted the development of Dunbar and the rest of the Texas bullpen after the game.

“They’ve accepted the fact that we are a different team than we were in the beginning,” Garrido said. “We’ve had experiences and we’ve paid a pretty high price to get those experiences. But we’ve matured greatly, and it shows.”

Earlier in the season, Clemens noted the lack of punch in the Longhorns’ lineup. “We need to get to a place where all of our guys are getting hot, instead of just one or two,” Clemens said. 

It now seems as though Clemens’ wish has come true. The Longhorns — now sitting at 20–21 — are playing their best baseball of the season. And as they make their move up the Big 12 standings, it’s their offense that’s fueling them.

“It would have been easy to come out flat today,” Clemens said. “But we’re continuing to get guys on base and score runs like we know we can.”