Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

LSU outplays Texas on both sides of the mound, takes a 6-3 win

Lorianne Willett
Pitcher Lebarron Johnson Jr. pitches during Texas’ game against LSU on on March 1, 2024. The Longhorns lost to the Tigers 6-3.

In its first game at the Astros Foundation College Classic, No. 15 Texas sent its best pitcher, redshirt junior Lebarron Johnson Jr. out against one of the best pitchers in the nation, No. 3 LSU junior Luke Holman. 

The highly touted matchup was expected to see both pitchers play deep into the game, but LSU was able to drive up Johnson’s pitch count early, spoiling Texas’ plans for the game. 

Johnson, the Big 12 Preseason Pitcher of the Year, faced off against a seasoned SEC veteran, as Holman played his first two years at Alabama before joining the reigning College World Series Champions. Johnson entered the game 1–0 and Holman 2–0. 

The start to the game was almost identical for each pitcher on the mound, except for one thing: LSU kept Johnson throwing. He faced five batters in the first inning, gave up a single, struck two out in a row, walked one batter and ended the inning with a strikeout. Through these five batters, he threw 31 pitches. 

For Holman, he threw 23 pitches and had the same results. Starting with a strikeout, he allowed a double, struck out another batter, walked a batter and ended the inning with a strikeout. 

Johnson stranded at least one LSU batter in scoring position in all three trips to the mound but threw almost 30 pitches in each inning. 

“(LSU) fought LBJ as (well) as anybody in the country could fight him,” Head Coach David Pierce said. “They fought off … good pitches and they fought off bad pitches and they laid off the slider. They did a lot of good things.”

While Johnson only gave up four hits, LSU’s ability to drive up Johnson’s pitch count was key for the Tigers to get on the board. In the fourth inning, they did exactly that. 

Johnson gave up a double, walked a batter and threw a wild pitch. With runners on second and third, his night was done after just three innings. He threw 91 pitches, struck out six of the 16 batters he faced and gave up two earned runs. 

“It’s twofold there,” Pierce said. “There’s a pitch count problem and there’s a fatigue problem because he’s throwing a lot of stress pitches versus, pitch count. They were better than him tonight. They were better than us.” 

Against Cal Poly a week prior, he threw 100 pitches in eight innings. 

For LSU, Holman also threw 91 pitches but didn’t reach that mark until the fifth inning. He had a stellar performance, striking out 12 of the 21 batters he faced and only giving up three hits. 

“Holman was amazing,” Pierce said. “He had really big pitches and commanded the baseball. We did a poor job of adjusting to strikes.”

With each pitcher throwing over 90 times, their nights were done and it was time for the relievers. 

For Texas, redshirt junior Tanner Witt was next in the order. He’s still returning to his prime form being an All-American after tearing his UCL in early 2022 and was able to limit the damage, pitching two innings. He threw 33 pitches, struck out one and walked two of the nine batters he faced. 

“That was huge, I have so much confidence in (Tanner),” Pierce said. “He was ready Tuesday and pitched for a short inning where he really had his right hook in that ballgame.” 

Witt was followed by freshman Easton Tumis, redshirt junior Grant Fontenot and freshman Hudson Hamilton. In a four-run seventh inning thanks to a pair of home runs for the Tigers, Tumis gave up a solo home run and Fontenot a three-run shot. By then the score was 6-0, and Texas was running out of time to respond.

Redshirt junior Andre Duplantier II followed Hamilton and finished the game for Texas. 

For the Tigers, senior Nate Ackenhausen took the mound and gave up a solo home run to redshirt junior catcher Kimble Schuessler, but by then it was too little too late. Through just over two innings, he threw 41 pitches, gave up three hits and struck out six before being replaced by junior Fidel Ulloa. 

Texas added two late runs in the bottom of the ninth but the offensive surge wasn’t enough and the Longhorns fell to the Tigers 6-3. 

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About the Contributor
Lorianne Willett, Photo Editor
Lorianne is a Journalism and Global Sustainability junior from San Antonio, Texas. Currently, she is the Photo Editor. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing tennis.