Early Saturday morning, a northern cold front blew in which dropped the temperature in Austin to the 40s. But the significant change in weather didn’t deter Texas’ red-hot junior starting pitcher Chase Shugart as he proceeded to shut down the Baylor offense in the afternoon at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
In game two of the weekend series between Baylor and Texas, the pitchers were out while the sun was not. Through nine innings, the teams combined for 11 hits. The final score was 2-0 in favor of the Longhorns. Texas head coach David Pierce said that with the weather conditions Saturday, a low-scoring game was not a surprise.
“It’s kind of what you go into expecting,” Pierce said. “Understanding that you’re going to have to play great defense and potentially be good in the short game. It’s really tough hitting conditions. You can barrel some balls and potentially have nothing to show for it.”
Shugart stepped up to the rubber and really showed just how dominant of a pitcher he can be. With a 3–2 record and an ERA just under 5, his season has seen its fair share of ups and downs. Since transitioning from reliever to starter in the offseason, Shugart has shown flashes of his potential.
But on Saturday, Shugart looked to finally put it all together. He said afterward that it had to do with him “calling his own game.”
“Putting ownership of me being on the wins and losses side of it, I didn’t have that mentality the past couple of outings,” Shugart said. “Feel like it really worked out today, even with the conditions.”
Offensively, the Longhorns lacked the firepower they had Friday night. One player, though, showed that no matter the conditions, he could not be contained.
Junior outfielder Kody Clemens had yet another stellar performance. The midseason All-American went 2-4 with a double and a solo home run. His home run, which was in the bottom of the first inning, was the only earned run of the day for both teams.
Clemens just continues to rake. His average has climbed and currently sits at an impressive .358. Toss in nine home runs and 30 RBIs and you have yourself a bona fide superstar. In fact, Clemens leads every day players in hits, home runs, doubles, RBIs, slugging percentage and walks.
“I’m just so glad Kody gets us a lead early,” Pierce said. “(After that) we were just able to play great defense and pitch.”
Late in the game, senior first baseman Jake McKenzie made a fantastic grab with a man on first. Trying to secure the double play, however, was not so pretty.
After hitting the front of his foot on the bag, he somersaulted and appeared to miss the bag completely. The runner was called out, though, and McKenzie appeared to laugh off the misstep and took a pretty good grilling from his teammates.
“I was laughing,” Clemens said. “It was funny, I mean Jake’s super good defensively. So something, a little stutter step like that comes out of him. You just got to laugh it off.”
Texas will look for the sweep against Baylor in game three Sunday at Disch-Falk Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.