Patience at the plate lifts Texas in Big 12 opener

Vicente Montalvo

The No. 10 Texas Longhorns opened Big 12 conference play with a bang in a 5-3 victory against Baylor in Waco on Friday night. 

Throughout the season, head coach David Pierce has discussed the ability for his team to win baseball games in different ways, and on Friday the Longhorns won with patience at the plate. Texas batters came together for only five hits on the night, but their effort to draw eight walks in was enough to get the job done and guarantee a 1–0 start to conference play.

“I’m just so proud of our guys,” Pierce said. “We had opportunities and we didn’t score, but we didn’t bend. We just kept playing.” 

After allowing two extra-base hits and a run in the first inning, redshirt sophomore pitcher Ty Madden settled into the contest and gave the Longhorns everything he had, tallying 120 pitches. Madden was pulled during the seventh inning, but had himself a fantastic night yet again with nine strikeouts compared to four hits. Madden gave up only two runs.

“He [Madden] emptied the tank out there,” Pierce said. “He did everything he could to help his team win.”

Madden built upon his dominant season, continuing to showcase his talent and why he was named Big 12 Preseason Pitcher of the Year. 

“I think he [Madden] did a great job of coming out aggressive,” Pierce said. “He did a nice job of staying patient and staying within himself.” 

The only Texas runs scored in the game came in the second and third inning, as they capitalized off of Baylor junior pitcher Tyler Thomas’ inconsistency. A two RBI double from freshman infielder Mitchell Daly got the Longhorns on the board, and four walks by Thomas in the inning ultimately gave Texas a 4-1 lead.   

The Longhorns showed that staying patient and drawing walks can lead to a victory, but leaving 12 runners stranded on base is something they will look to fix going forward.

Baylor attempted a comeback late in the game as they scored a run in the eighth inning, cutting the deficit to 5-3. In a bases loaded situation with two outs, Pierce turned to freshman pitcher Aaron Nixon, which ultimately turned out to be the right choice. A groundout to first base ended the inning and the Bears chances of taking the lead.  

With one out and the bases loaded, Texas had an opportunity to put the game away in the ninth inning. However, the Longhorns could not get a run to cross the plate as two batters popped-out, ending the inning 5-3 in favor of the Longhorns. 

Texas is in a good position after game one of a three-game series with Baylor, as they only called on three relief pitchers on Friday.

The Longhorns continue to showcase their grit and resilience by finding different ways to win. Texas is currently in dominant form as they extend their win-streak to seven, which includes 13 of their last 15. 

Game two is set for a 3 p.m. start time on Saturday as the Longhorns look to win their only series against Baylor, along with clinching their first conference series victory.