Longhorn long balls lead the way in a high-scoring victory over Incarnate Word

Evan Vieth and

It was a home run party in Austin on Tuesday, with the Texas Longhorns registering a season-high five home runs and seventeen runs in a 17-11 win over the Incarnate Word Cardinals.

The Longhorns’ win over the Cardinals marked their 11th straight victory and improved them to a respectable 15-7 record in non-conference play. With Big 12 play around the corner, starting on Friday in Austin against Texas Tech, Texas is playing its best baseball of the season.

“The guys have made some really good adjustments,” coach David Pierce said. “Now we’re gonna see some better stuff and now it’s can we stick to that same kind of plan?”

Junior designated hitter Garret Guillemette played the role of conductor on the home run train, hitting a solo shot in the third and a grand slam in the seventh inning. The USC transfer hit his first two home runs as a Longhorn on Tuesday, a long time coming for a player with eight extra-base hits coming into the game. 

“He’s been working and he’s really good in the middle of the field,” Pierce said. “He’s got power, he’s able to get it out of the ballpark. (I’m) happy for (Guillemette).”

Alongside Guillemette, juniors Dylan Campbell, Porter Brown, and Jack O’Dowd all added bombs of their own. O’Dowd’s opened up the lead for the Longhorns in the first inning when his three-run shot gave Texas a lead that never dwindled for the rest of the game. O’Dowd finished the game with three more hits, including a double and two more runs scored.

“He just keeps getting better,” Pierce said about O’Dowd. “He loves the game, he made some good adjustments this week in his work and fortunately, it paid off early.”

Junior right-handed pitcher Charlie Hurley notched his first start of the season for the Longhorns, working through four innings and giving up no runs, apart from a lead-off homerun to start the game. Hurley started thirteen games last season at USC, which led the team, but has worked exclusively out of the bullpen in 2023. Hurley leads all bullpen pitchers in innings pitched (25), and is tied for first in strikeouts (23) and saves (two) while boasting a 1.8 ERA.

“He’s started the last two years at USC and his goal was to come in and start,” Pierce said. “Just a great night from him even after the home run.”

The Longhorn offense worked in chunks to score their season-high 17 runs, notching two four-run innings in the first and fourth and six runs in the sixth. Tuesday also marked the third straight game in which Texas scored nine or more runs, the first such streak all season. The Longhorns are additionally scoring 10 runs per game over their win streak. 

“We smoked the ball tonight,” Pierce said.

The bullpen was the only struggle for Texas on Tuesday, registering a performance similar to last year’s staff. Sophomore relief pitcher Ace Whitehead and junior relief pitcher Heston Tole each gave up three runs in their .2 innings pitched from the start of the fifth to one-third of the way through the sixth, resulting in Incarnate Word clawing their way within four runs of the Longhorns in the sixth inning.

“We gotta understand that there are other teams that can hit a little bit,” Pierce said. “We just gotta have a little more consistency with them.”

Texas will have to turn all focus to Friday, where it starts the first game of arguably the toughest stretch of the season. Starting Friday night, the Longhorns will host Texas Tech, travel to College Station to face Texas A&M and play Oklahoma State on the road all within a ten day span. All three teams are all ranked in the D1 Baseball top 25 rankings. The Longhorns have only faced four top 25 teams on the year, dropping all four of the matchups to SEC talents Arkansas, Missouri, Vanderbilt and LSU.

“It’s not all of a sudden we put on the ‘Big 12 uniform’,” Pierce said, “We just continue to go out there and play the game the right way. If we do that, I think our chances are as good as anybody in the league.”