Pitcher Parker French shines in Longhorns' opening day start

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Senior pitcher Parker French opened Texas’ season allow ing just one run in five innings during Texas’ win against Rice on Friday. French is expected to lead Texas on the mound this season as the Longhorns’ veteran pitcher.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Marcel Merwin | The Rice Thresher

Senior starting pitcher Parker French, who is expected to be the ace of the Longhorns staff in the early going, looked his part in the Longhorns’ season opener Friday. 

After struggling in the first inning with a hit batter and an earned run, French settled in, allowing only three hits and recording a strikeout over the course of his next four innings. French did struggle with three hit batters in the game, although those could be attributed to the nerves of starting a new season.

Sophomore starting pitchers struggle

Outside of French, Texas will have to rely on a pair of sophomore arms on the mound if the team is going to have the success it wants this year. In Saturday’s doubleheader, however, both starting pitchers — Kacy Clemens and Josh Sawyer — struggled in their first starts.

Clemens’ day got off to a rough start, as he allowed seven hits, including a home run, and six runs in his first inning. Clemens settled down for the next two innings but was credited for two more earned runs in the fourth after the Longhorns had closed the deficit to one.

Sawyer’ end result was similar. He allowed a run in the first, allowed two more in the third and was credited with two earned runs in the fifth as Rice swept the Longhorn in the doubleheader.

Longhorns bats rattle Rice’s Blake Fox

While Clemens struggled on the mound, the Longhorns bats kept the game close, which was an impressive feat given the strength of Owls starting pitcher Blake Fox. Texas pegged Fox for seven runs — four of which were earned — eight hits and two walks.

Last season, Fox posted a 1.46 ERA for Rice and was anticipated to be one of the game’s leading pitchers heading into this season. Fox still emerged with his 19th straight win as a starter but not before taking shots from the Longhorns batters.

Boswell starts with solid opening series

After missing all of last year with a wrist injury, redshirt freshman Bret Boswell made the most of his first opportunity to see the field this weekend. 

On Friday, Boswell went 1-for-3, scoring the tying run in the fifth inning. On Saturday, he combined to go 3-for-8 and brought in two runs in the first game of the doubleheader. In the third inning, Boswell laid down a successful squeeze bunt to draw the Longhorns to within one of the Owls. Then, in the ninth, he ripped a double to left-center field to again get Texas to within one run.

Shaw comes through as game one hero

Senior outfielder Collin Shaw didn’t take long to make an impact for the Longhorns. 

With Friday’s game tied 1–1 in the top of the seventh, Shaw stepped up to the plate with runners on second and third and a new Rice pitcher on the mound. Shaw then drilled a double to right field, scoring the two runners, which proved to be the winning runs for the Longhorns. He then added an RBI double in the first game Saturday.