Despite a stretch where 23 out of 24 Texas batters failed to reach base, the Longhorns managed to pull off a 2-1 win in 12 innings over Dallas Baptist.
It wasn’t pretty, but for a team that has been struggling to get into the win column, they will take what they can get.
“Winning becomes so important when you’re losing, and I don’t care what anyone says; winning is mandatory,” said head coach Augie Garrido. “You can teach so much better when you’re winning because the players have confidence, and you can talk to them about what’s going wrong. As a coaching staff, we have to be extremely positive during these periods of time; it’s the only way out.”
The bottom of the 12th started off very similarly to how the rest of the game had been going with a bloop single off the bat of designated hitter Alex Silver that just managed to fall between the second baseman, the shortstop and the center fielder.
From there, hustle and a dose of Texas’ small ball eked out the win.
Freshman Taylor Stell came into the game to pinch run for Silver and immediately advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt from Kirby Bellow. Senior Jordan Etier, who was 2-4 on the day, stepped into the box and was intentionally walked to set up the double play.
“That might be the first time he’s ever been walked intentionally,” Garrido said with a grin.
Then the top of the order came up and Mark Payton hit a slow grounder to the shortstop that looked like a sure double play, but Payton hustled up the line and beat the second baseman’s throw to first to keep the inning alive. This brought Tim Maitland to the plate and he delivered, hitting a sharp grounder into the hole between short and third. The shortstop fielded the ball but couldn’t get the ball to the first in time for the out, allowing Stell to score and end the marathon of a game.
The bats were quiet all day for both teams, with the only other runs scored in the game coming in the first inning for Dallas Baptist and the second inning for Texas.
However, Texas’ defense and pitching shined, allowing the team to get away with a poor showing at the plate.
Texas used six pitchers for the second Tuesday outing in a row, and the group performed beautifully. As a staff, they combined to allow only five hits in 12 innings of work and never really allowed the Patriot hitters to get comfortable in the box.
But it was the defense that really carried the team with a solid, all-around errorless effort. This is only the second time all season the Longhorns didn’t commit any errors in a game, and there were a couple of spectacular efforts made by infielders to save a hit here and there throughout the game.
“That’s how were going to have to play to play consistently on defense,” Garrido said. “That was probably our best performance defensively all year.”