Late game heroics lift Texas to first victory of season

Vicente Montalvo

Graduate transfer outfielder Mike Antico lifted Texas to a 3-1 victory over Brigham Young University on Wednesday with a clutch two-run RBI single in the eighth inning, one of the first highlight moments in a Texas uniform for the Big 12 preseason newcomer of the year. 

“I think (Antico is) just touching the surface,” head coach David Pierce said. “I was really proud of him after his first at-bat striking out and then coming back and having a pretty good night.” 

The win marked Texas’s first on the young season and opened a four-game series that will run until Saturday. Although the Longhorns continued to struggle at the plate and saw Pierce ejected from the contest after getting into a verbal argument with the third base umpire, redshirt freshman pitcher Pete Hansen led a strong pitching attack for Texas. Hansen threw 50 pitches over three innings before being relieved in the fourth inning by redshirt sophomore Drew Shifflet.

Redshirt junior infielder Cam Williams had another big night for the Longhorns going two-for-three batting. Williams hit his second home run of the season in the third inning, giving Texas a 1-0 lead.  

The Longhorns were lucky to get on the board as BYU pitcher Easton Walker was in control throughout the game. Walker pitched nearly eight innings, only giving up one run and three hits as he tallied four strikeouts.

“I really liked Easton Walker,” Pierce said. “He had such a competitive mindset, he attacked the strike zone, and he threw two to three pitches for strikes throughout the night. You’ve got (to) tip your hat to him … I’m just fortunate we won the game.”

Texas pitchers held seven Cougar runners on base while only giving up three hits on the night. BYU’s only run of the game came from junior infielder Austin Deming’s eighth inning solo home run, which tied the game at 1-1.

Texas capitalized off of the Cougars’ pitching change in the eighth inning as BYU freshman pitcher Boston Mabeus struggled with his control. Mabeus allowed runners to advance to second and third base, and with one out, Antico managed to get on base, bringing home the two runners while lifting the Longhorns to a 3-1 lead and ultimately, a victory.

“I didn’t have to hit too hard,” Antico said. “I knew exactly what I had to do and I executed it. That was it.”

The No. 19 Longhorns now hold a 1-3 record after losing every game at the State Farm College Baseball Showdown over the past weekend. Although Texas struggled in Arlington to open the season, Antico believes he and his teammates are starting to learn from their mistakes and get better.

“You get the first one out of the way, now we can go,” Antico said. “We got that first one (and) time to roll now. We had a tough weekend (and) to comeback was a good feeling.”