Texas welcomes Boise State back to baseball after 40-year hiatus

Emily Barton

As Texas opened its first weekend home series of the season, its opponent opened a new era of baseball. The Boise State Broncos have not fielded a baseball team since 1980, a couple decades before some of the players were born. 

The Bronco’s first night of baseball in 40 years was a bittersweet start to the program, as Texas won 7-0 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Friday.

A team with no history is obviously difficult to prepare for. There were no stats, film or insider knowledge for Texas to use in order to prepare for the weekend. 

“(Boise State has) been working on this team,” Texas head coach David Pierce said before the game. “We’re not sure what we’ll see, and they probably don’t know either. You can tell (they) are excited, and so are we to see what happens.”

It’s undeniable that the Broncos have a great story. The “Dirty Dozen” were 12 Bronco players who sat out of official play all last year as their team was in the works. They built the team up from nothing, and now have a 32-player roster working to revive a lost sport for their school, where they don’t even have a stadium of their own.

“It’s surreal,” Boise State head coach Gary Van Tol said in a gametime interview with ESPN. “Once that first pitch was thrown I could relax because it was so nice to finally get started. We held our breath the first inning, and we have to take it one pitch at a time.”

Texas got ahead in the first when senior outfielders Duke Ellis and Austin Todd scored off of an RBI double by redshirt junior infielder Zach Zubia. With one competitive at-bat after another, Texas seemed to be wearing down the Broncos right out of the gate. 

It wasn’t until the fourth that Texas added to the score. After sophomore outfielder Eric Kennedy hit a bunt single, redshirt junior infielder Cam Williams hit an RBI single to add to the lead. Texas furthered the lead 4-0 in the fifth when freshman infielder Trey Faltine knocked home more with a base hit with the bases loaded.

Junior pitcher Bryce Elder, who gave up just two earned runs in his first two starts, was excellent once again. The junior struck out 11 batters and didn’t allow a run during his seven innings on the mound. 

“I settled in and got a feeling for my breaking ball,” Elder said. “I worked though and stuck with it. Our mentality is to go right at people. As long as we make people beat us and we don’t beat ourselves we’ll be really successful.”

After a 2019 season full of shortcomings, the 6–0 start to the season for the Longhorns is a welcome sight.

“Nights like these are hard to come by,” Todd said. “It’s a good night. We want to rack up wins, and any win is a good win.”