The Texas Longhorns played their first of a three-game series in what has been dubbed the “Augie Series” for former beloved head coach Augie Garrido. And in Friday’s series opener against Cal State Fullerton, the Longhorns came out on top 6-1.
Garrido was a transformative head coach for both The University of Texas and Cal State Fullerton. At Fullerton, he built the program from the ground up. In 1973, without electricity or assistant coaches, Augie started scouting and recruited a team capable of competing. He coached them to three national championships, and later coached the Longhorns to two of their own.
Garrido became the all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division I baseball history, and was a mainstay of Texas Athletics for decades. Known as a man of the highest character, it is evident the regard both teams hold for him.
“Augie was a giant in our game,” Texas head coach David Pierce said. “His impact on baseball, on the Forty Acres and on me and so many others will live on forever.”
Much like Garrido started his journey at Cal State, the Titans started Friday strong, holding Texas scoreless until the seventh inning.
Then, Texas unleashed an offensive downpour that would put the game out of reach. What started out as a lackluster offensive performance transformed quickly into another early-season showing of dominance for Texas.
After redshirt junior infielder Zach Zubia got on base in the seventh, the Longhorns livened up. Sophomore outfielder Eric Kennedy hit a two-run double and Texas was finally on the board and leading 2-1. Minutes later, redshirt senior catcher DJ Petrinsky hit a two-run shot to add a couple more. Freshman catcher Peyton Powell and senior outfielder Austin Todd hit base knocks, and Texas had a commanding lead.
“Once a couple guys get it going, it becomes contagious and ... that confidence grows,” Petrinsky said. “I think we feed off each other's energy really well and it just comes with being a tight knit tight knit team and just having a lot of chemistry.”
Texas pitching did the job. Junior pitcher Bryce Elder went 6 ⅔ innings and was replaced in the middle of the seventh before things got out of hand. Sophomore pitcher Dawson Merryman and redshirt senior pitcher Donny Diaz were able to finish the job and keep Cal State to just their one early run.
“I feel like I’m getting my spot right now. It’s been a journey,” Merryman said. “I love being the utility guy, anywhere they want to put me as long as I’m out on the field.”
This Friday night win was huge for the Longhorns, after having three losses in the past week. The Longhorns will continue the series against Cal State at 12 p.m. Saturday.