French, Offense lead Texas to win over series-opening win over Minnesota

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If there was any doubt about who was the ace of the Longhorns pitching staff, Parker French put that to rest Friday night.

While the senior pitcher only struck one batter out, French limited Minnesota to only three hits in six innings and allowed only one run.

Meanwhile, the Texas offense exploded for 13 runs on 17 hits to secure a 13-2 victory over the Golden Gophers in the first game of a four-game series.

As they did Tuesday night against UTSA, the Longhorns got off to a quick start on the mound and behind the plate. After French led off the game with a quick 1-2-3 inning, junior left fielder Ben Johnson opened the bottom half of the inning with a fly ball that went just underneath the right fielder’s glove for a triple. Senior right fielder Collin Shaw then brought him in on a ground out to give the Longhorns the early lead.

After adding another run in the first, Texas struck again in the second, scoring on a wild pitch and then Shaw added an RBI triple just over the left fielder’s head to up the Longhorn’s lead to 4-0. After Minnesota got on the board in the fourth, the floodgates opened for Texas in the fifth.

Junior shortstop C.J. Hinojosa reached on an error to start the inning, chasing the Golden Gopher’s starter Ben Meyer from the game, the next two batters reached on walks and then freshman third-baseman Bret Boswell drilled a ground-rule double to right field to bring in two runs.

Two batters later, fellow freshman Michael Cantu singled to right center field to up the Texas lead to 8-1. Cantu then added to his RBI total with a bases-loaded triple in the eighth to increase the lead 13-1.

“Ben’s been swinging the bat good and Collin and Tres [Barrera] and we feed off of that and hit the ball well,” Cantu said.

French, meanwhile, did more than his part on the mound. The right hander threw first-pitch strikes to the first 10 batters he faced. French also limited Minnesota to only two extra base hits.

As good as he was pitching, French said he didn’t mind coming out after six innings.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” French said. “You don’t win national championships in February.”

The Longhorns and Golden Gophers will square off in a double header Saturday afternoon. The first game is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.