Erich Weiss has played third base and left field this year for Texas, but hasn’t played second base since his senior year of high school. That changed Tuesday night, when the freshman filled in for usual starter Jordan Etier at second base during the Longhorns’ 2-0 win over Texas State.
“It was a little different,” Weiss said. “I had to get used to it at first. I was used to third base, so coming back to second was weird.”
Weiss started the year at third base, but with the return of Alex Silver, now primarily plays in left field. Texas head coach Augie Garrido made the move because he wanted to see how well Weiss could field at second, in case he’s forced to play the freshman there.
“We wanted to see that in case of an injury, in case it’s a move we have to make down the line,” Garrido said. “It was a combination of things that gave us an opportunity to play him there.”
Weiss started off slow defensively, allowing a routine ground ball get past him in the second inning. But he rebounded as the game progressed, and finished the game with four assists.
“Erich did real well tonight,” said first baseman Tant Shepherd. “It’s kind of hard being thrown into a position like that. The more positions you can play, it just makes you a better baseball player.”
Weiss knew Monday that he was going to start at second base, so he practiced taking ground balls on the day off. He worked on double plays before the game, but it still was a transition.
“It was a little shaky at first but I got into it pretty fast,” Weiss said.
He also struggled offensively, striking out on a check-swing during his first at-bat. He unsuccessfully attempted to lay down a sac bunt in the sixth inning, but reached first base on a fielder’s choice. Weiss scored the game-winning run the next at-bat, reaching home on Paul Montalbano’s triple to right field.
“They had some great defense,” Weiss said. “They were smart all around and they knew where to go with bunts, you could tell they practice it all the time.”
Weiss attempted another sac bunt in the seventh inning, Bobcat pitcher Jeff McVaney let it roll down the first base line and stop, resulting in a single for Weiss.
“I squared around before he even started his wind up, but I guess I placed it pretty good,” Weiss said.
The hit extends the freshman’s hitting streak to thirteen games, the longest of the season for any Texas player. Weiss finished the game 1-for-4 with one run.
“I just try to help the team win,” he said. “I wasn’t even trying to get a hit.”
Garrido said it’s unlikely he’ll play Weiss at second base again this season, which is just fine by the freshman.
“Third base is probably my favorite,” Weiss said. “They’re all great, as long as I get to play.”