Alumni game gives look at past, future of Texas baseball

Nathan Han

Beautiful weather greeted fans in attendance at Texas’ annual alumni game on Saturday afternoon at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, where former Longhorns now playing in MLB organizations faced off against the current Texas squad. 

Headlined by former Longhorn catcher Tres Barrera, outfielder Mark Payton and brothers Kacy and Kody Clemens, the alumni game was part of Texas’ Annual Fan Appreciation Day and Alumni Game, which included an autograph session Saturday morning.

“You can’t beat a Saturday at the ballpark with perfect weather,” senior outfielder Austin Todd said. “Seeing all those guys that we used to play with was pretty cool. Being a senior, it was my last time to do this, and so it was pretty awesome.”

Nolan Kingham, a Texas pitcher from 2016-18 and current pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, lined up in the outfield and scored the only run of the day off a sacrifice fly from Kody Clemens in a 1-0 victory for the alumni.

Between the top and bottom of the third inning in the otherwise calm game, a crop of former Texas infielders took a photo at second base.


Featuring Zane Gurwitz of the Los Angeles Angels, Travis Jones of the Kansas City Royals, Ryan Reynolds of the Chicago Cubs, Kacy Clemens of the Toronto Blue Jays and Kody Clemens of the Detroit Tigers, the photo was a reminder of what Texas has to replace from last season’s infield.

Reynolds was a bright spot at third base on last year’s 27–27 team and went 2–3 in the alumni game. His departure left a hole at third base that’s likely to be filled by junior Murphy Stehly, who started at third base in the alumni game and went 0–2, said head coach David Pierce.

“(Stehly) has played really well at short and at third base,” Pierce said. “There’s days where he swings the bat really well and just days where it seems overmatched, but at the same time, he competes really well. (Junior) Sam (Bertelson) is still in the mix, and he’s played all four positions so he has that utility role as well.”

Freshmen infielders Brenden Dixon and Trey Faltine got starts at second base and shortstop, respectively, as well as a nod of confidence from their head coach.

“(I’m) comfortable in the middle with the two youngsters,” Pierce said. “Comfortable with (junior) Zach (Zubia) at first. We have some options with those guys moving, especially due to injury.”

In a game mostly dominated by pitching, sophomore Ty Madden pitched four scoreless innings against the alumni team. 

He allowed only three hits and struck two out, while freshmen Justin Eckhardt and Jared Southard each pitched two scoreless innings on the other side against the current roster.

“(Madden) is really getting more and more confidence in his slider,” Pierce said. “It’s outstanding … I would say I’m leaning towards (Madden] as my number two (pitcher). There’s some guys in the back end that have stuff, but we’ve got to get reliability from them more.”

The Longhorns will start the season at Rice with a three-game series Feb. 14-16.