Texas’ first home win comes after early adversity

Emily Barton

The Longhorns opened up their season at home against the UT-San Antonio Roadrunners Monday night. Despite the gloomy weather and gray skies, Texas was coming off a sunny weekend sweep at Rice. Texas avenged last year’s loss to the Roadrunners by winning 6-2 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

But it wasn’t all sunshine and roses for Texas. In his first start, redshirt sophomore pitcher Cole Quintanilla got off to a rocky start as the Roadrunners put a run on the board in the first. After a visit at the mound from Texas assistant coach Sean Allen, Quintanilla gained control and was able to limit the damage.

The second and third innings were scoreless for both teams, and Texas seemed unable to perform at the plate. 

“You know, it wasn’t the way we wanted to start off, but we’ve been preaching the same energy from start to finish,” redshirt junior pitcher Tristan Stevens said. “But our guys fight, and it’s great to see out of a young team like this.” 

Trailing 2-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth, the Longhorns went up to bat determined to answer. With senior outfielder Duke Ellis getting a leadoff bunt and then advancing from a wild pitch, redshirt junior infielder Zach Zubia then got on board and moved Ellis to third. After laying in wait at third for what seemed like forever, Ellis trotted in on a base hit from freshman infielder Trey Faltine to finally get Texas on the board.

But Texas wasn’t done there.

With the Texas bases loaded and no outs, the Longhorns rallied for four more runs to take a commanding lead. The early deficit no more, Texas could put things in cruise control.

“We may make some mistakes early, but I think they’re all in about playing the whole game,” Texas head coach David Pierce said. “It’s great because we’ve been ahead in the first three games, and tonight, we got to see how we handle adversity.” 

As the Roadrunners pulled from their bullpen all night, Texas didn’t change pitchers until the five when Stevens took over to pitch two scoreless innings. Freshman Pete Hansen finished things off for Texas, pitching a scoreless three innings. 

Behind Hansen, Stephens and Quintanilla was a solid Longhorn defense that was led in part by Faltine. Even in his young career, the shortstop is showing flashes of defensive greatness, including a long throw from deep in the hole that ended the eighth inning.

“For a young player, (Faltine) is really learning how to take control of the defense and taking control of the game, and understanding through verbal and nonverbal communication of how to just get things done from other people,” Pierce said. 

Faltine is just one of the young players expected to contribute early on. With the presence of veterans like senior outfielder Austin Todd and Zubia, the Longhorns are a melting pot of experience, and it’s contributed to the flawless start to the season.

“There’s such a great balance of youth and experience,” Pierce said. “They’re out there pulling for each other. I think this team is going to get better no matter what.”