Texas rides momentum into weekday matchup with Sam Houston State

CJ Vogel

When a rock meets a hard place, something has to budge, right?

Longhorn fans will certainly find out which object succumbs to the other when the 6–2 Texas Longhorns host the 5–1 Sam Houston State Bearkats on Tuesday night.

In their last five games, the Longhorns are 4–1 and have outscored their opponents, 34-16. Texas is beginning to find consistent pitching and the bats are finding ways to score runs in a multitude of ways following a 3–1 weekend against the Purdue Boilermakers.

“From 1-9 (in the lineup), there’s not an easy out anywhere,” left fielder Duke Ellis said. “There’s good speed and a mix of good power in the lineup. It’s great.”

But the Bearkats are riding a hot streak of their own. To start the season, Sam Houston State has won five of its first six games, including a three-game sweep of Louisiana. Yes, that Louisiana.

The Ragin’ Cajuns went a combined 1–5 against the two teams scheduled to meet at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday night, with their lone win coming against the Longhorns, 8-6.

But the main focus Tuesday won’t be which team had the most success playing Louisiana. Instead, it will be how the bats of Sam Houston State compare with the pitching staff of the Longhorns.

Texas starting pitchers Bryce Elder, Coy Cobb and Matt Whalen combined for zero earned runs in 18 innings of work this weekend while the pitching rotation as a whole allowed just six earned runs in four games. That type of production is something head coach David Pierce knew Texas was capable of all along.

“I knew we had good pitching,” Pierce said following the 3-0 victory over Purdue on Sunday. “I knew that we had great stuff, and I think now you’re starting to see some of those guys really get comfortable in (their) spots, and Kam Fields is one of those (guys). Cole Quintanilla is one. There is a lot of growth happening in the bullpen right now.”

The meeting with Sam Houston State will likely come down to a mixture of arms coming out of the bullpen, especially with a Bearkats lineup that is currently averaging over seven runs per contest so far this season.

Texas must be cautious of infielder Hunter Hearn and outfielder Clayton Harp, who have combined for six of Sam Houston State’s nine home runs so far this season.

Pierce said Sunday that Texas will throw out pitcher Matteo Bocchi for his first start of the season Tuesday. Bocchi tossed three shutout innings in his only appearance so far this season.