A record 2,815 Bearkat fans fell quiet at Don Sanders Stadium Wednesday as they watched Longhorn base runners trot towards home plate to take a 5-0 lead in the sixth inning.
Texas’ junior batters scared Sam Houston State (2-1) with a big night featuring the long ball during the first ever meeting between the two teams. Texas (2–2) earned a 7-2 victory to celebrate head coach David Pierce’s first return to Bearkat territory since his time at the helm of the program, where he began his career as a head coach from 2012 to 2014.
The Longhorns struggled to find offensive power early in the game, and redshirt junior pitcher Dakota Mills cashed in with four punch outs for the Bearkats.
But junior right fielder Patrick Mathis found a way to combat Mills’ arsenal with a single into right center field to collect Texas’ first hit of the night. Junior catcher Michael Cantu slammed a two-run homer over the left field fence to strike first for Pierce’s squad.
Three consecutive burnt orange hits quickly erased Mills’ dominant start and forced Sam Houston State to hand the ball to freshman relief pitcher Gabriel Sequeira.
Texas continued to pressure the Bearkats during the sixth inning. Freshman third baseman Ryan Reynolds and senior first baseman Kacy Clemens picked up back-to-back walks to crowd the bases before junior left fielder Travis Jones smashed an opposite-field three-run jack to make it a wide-open 5–0 affair for Texas.
Sophomore right hander Nolan Kingham danced out of trouble for much of his time on the mound. The Bearkats threatened to score during the bottom of the fourth inning with the bases loaded, but Kingham forced two Bearkat ground outs with a double play to halt the danger.
Sam Houston State found a total of six men on base during the first five innings, but Kingham and his defense quieted the runners with crucial strikeouts and nifty double plays. Kingham’s scoreless five-inning effort allowed him to earn his first win of the season.
Sam Houston State finally found a way to reach home plate with two runs in the sixth inning.
The Longhorns look to build off their powerful offensive performance as they head back to Austin for a three-game series against Connecticut this weekend.