There must be something about the mound at Dish Falk Field that Parker French really likes, because he just doesn’t give up runs at home.
French pushed his scoreless streak at his home ballpark to 32.2 innings while going after seven innings of shutout ball on Saturday evening, leading Texas to a 3-0 win over Kansas.
“Parker did a really good job,” said head coach Augie Garrido. “It might not have been a smooth or as dominating as Oklahoma State [which was an eight inning scoreless performance by French], but it was consistent enough with the way the defense played behind him to make it work.
The defense did play a huge role in the outing, and shortstop Jordan Etier might have made the play that saved the game for the Longhorns in the third inning.
With two runners on at second and third and two outs, the Jayhawk batter hit a sharp ground ball into the hole between third base and short, but Etier tracked the ball down. Not only did he stop the ball from advancing into the outfield, he turned and made an incredible throw from deep in the hole to first nipping the runner while saving two runs from scoring.
“The big play of the game was Etier’s in the third, and how he threw a strike to first is beyond me,” Garrido said. “That saved the lead because it would have put them ahead 2-1.”
From there French didn’t need a lot of help. His sinker was working well and inducing a lot of ground balls from the Kansas hitters. But it was his use of his changeup in the outing that was really the key, as it gave the hitters another pitch to look at so they just couldn’t look for the sinker on every pitch.
“We didn’t go as much slider tonight because the changeup was so effective in the bullpen,” French said. “We stuck with the changeup to show the pitch and keep them off balance so they can’t sit on the sinker.”
The offense didn’t hit a ton on the evening but it was enough to give Texas the win.
The Longhorns got on the board quickly in the first inning in traditional small ball fashion. Mark Payton led off the game with a walk, Taylor Snell moved him over with a sac bunt and then Erich Weiss sent a single up the middle to score Payton.
The last Longhorn run of the evening came with Snell on base, as he advanced to second after a single and a passed ball, and then Weiss recorded his second RBI of the night when he blooped a single into right field, which scored Snell.