The silence was deafening at UFCU Disch-Falk Field as the crowd of 3,968 sat on their hands while they watched Texas Rio Grande Valley score run after run in the first inning.
Texas was in the midst of an emotional four-game losing streak following three one-run losses in the past week, including a 11-10 loss to Texas State in the 10th inning on Tuesday night.
Now, the Longhorns found themselves down seven runs after the top of the first frame. However, Texas didn’t allow another runner to cross the plate, avoiding what could have been the Longhorns’ worst loss of
Although Texas battled back and found itself on the right side of a 9-7 comeback victory, it wasn’t pretty.
“It was a pretty awful feeling in the first being down seven after the previous four games,” head coach David Pierce said. “They really never got overwhelmed when we were down early and that’s a big sign for us.”
Junior pitcher Connor Mayes got the start on the mound, but it was short lived. The right hander didn’t exactly have an ideal outing.
The first batter the junior faced sent a shot over the left field fence. That was just the beginning. UT-RGV sent Mayes to the dugout with four runs on two hits and four walks after only mustering one out in the top of the first.
The right hander would eventually be responsible for all seven runs that crossed the plate in the first. Texas only gave up three runs in all of the first innings this season combined.
“It’s an emotional time for him,” Pierce said. “He’s just got to build his confidence back up. We’ve got a few guys that are in that category. As we’re trying to play opponents and win games we’ve got to really try to build some confidence back in some other guys.”
Senior pitcher Jon Malmin was called from the bullpen after Mayes pitched just one-third of an inning. Malmin eventually retired the side, but not after Texas found itself in a 7-0 deficit.
But he wasn’t even aware of his predicament.
“I actually went down there and had to get hot pretty quick,” senior Jon Malmin said. “And when I got in the game I actually didn’t know they had scored six runs. I thought it was a lot less than that.”
The senior entered the game with bases loaded. But after UT-RGV plated the seven runs, Malmin shut down any momentum UT-RGV wished to carry from the explosive first inning.
Malmin didn’t allow one run to cross the plate in his career-high 6.2 innings. The senior finished with another career-high in seven strikeouts. “It kind of just felt like high school again,” Malmin said. “It just worked and it felt good and it was fun to be out there.”
While Malmin refused to give up a run on the mound, the Longhorns’ bats dug themselves out of the seven-run hole. A two-run blast from junior second baseman Bret Boswell in the first followed by another two-run shot from freshman third baseman Ryan Reynolds spurred what would be a 9-0 run to cap off the 9-7 victory.
“We didn’t have a lot of good things going for us,” Malmin said. “So it was nice to see the guys rally and come back like that and get a big win against a team that wants to play Texas and could really come in here and upset us.”
The Longhorns’ comeback ends their hectic four-game losing skid. Although it won’t fall under the win column for conference play, Texas will have a chance to translate Wednesday night’s comeback into its first conference victory. The Longhorns host a three-game series against Kansas State this weekend at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
“The way this one started, for us to come out on top, is really huge after last night,” Pierce said. “So now we rest tomorrow, we have a short workout and we get ready for a tough Kansas State team.”