Arlington

Freshman third baseman Randel Leahy had a career game Wednesday against UT-Arlington. Leahy blasted a grand slam in the first inning of play and clinched the Texas victory with a walk-off, solo home run in the fifth.
Photo Credit: Graeme Hamilton | Daily Texan Staff

It didn’t take long for Texas to come out victorious over UT-Arlington on Wednesday night.

Behind freshman third baseman Randel Leahy’s two-home-run night, the Longhorns run-ruled the Mavericks, 8–0. 

Texas (28–12) pounced on UT-Arlington (26–20) from the start. 

Sophomore pitcher Tiarra Davis took the mound for the Longhorns and held the Mavericks scoreless. In the bottom of the first, the Longhorns launched an offensive strike. They started off quickly with a walk and a single from sophomore shortstop Devon Tunning and sophomore outfielder Stephanie Wong, respectively, but a setback occurred as the Mavericks retired the next two batters.

Then, with two outs and the bases loaded, junior catcher Erin Shireman sparked a rally with a single to right field, knocking in the first two runs of the game. The next two hitters connected for two more singles to load the bases as Leahy stepped up to the plate. As the ball traveled from the mound to the plate, Leahy held her stance, connected on the pitch and launched the ball over the left-field wall for her first career grand slam to extend Texas’ lead to 6–0.

“Great at-bats for Randel tonight,” Texas head coach Connie Clark said. “She’s really come along, and we’ve talked about it this season that she’s somebody we wanted to try to get in the lineup every single day.” 

After Davis retired three in the second, Tunning and Wong struck again. Tunning led off the second inning with a single but was put out on a fielder’s choice off Wong’s bat. To complete the frame, Wong stole second, advanced to third on a ground out and crossed the plate on a passed ball to make the score 7–0.

The next two innings were scoreless, thanks to Texas senior pitcher Gabby Smith’s six strikeouts.

Freshman Erica Wright came into the game in the fifth inning to pitch a perfect inning.

“Tonight was really about getting our pitchers work in a midweek, nonconference game,” Clark said. “All three of our pitchers did a great job of throwing to all zones and mixing speeds efficiently. That’s what we need is for those three to get stronger and stronger as we go on this season.”

In the bottom of the fifth, the Mavericks sent two Longhorns back to the dugout and needed just one more out for another offensive opportunity to get back in the game. But Leahy hit her second home run of the game, to the same wall as before, to clinch the victory.

“[The softball I saw] was pretty big,” Leahy said. “It was nice to come out tonight and redeem ourselves.”

Clark recognized Leahy’s success on a holistic level.

“Obviously, the grand slam was sweet, but to get the walk-off was tremendous,” Clark said.

The Mavericks were the last nonconference opponent on Texas’ schedule. Four Big 12 series are all that remain in the regular season for
the Longhorns. 

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

The Texas baseball team surrounded head coach Augie Garrido after Tuesday’s 6–4 comeback win over Texas State.

Despite the win, Garrido was visibly frustrated with the team’s performance. It was Texas’ second-straight midweek game in which they struggled, after last week’s extra-inning loss against UT-Arlington, 6–5.  

Garrido said he wasn’t upset; rather, he wanted the Longhorns to learn from their Tuesday night struggles.

“I’m not angry,” Garrido said. “I’m just trying to explain to them why we have to be disciplined and why we have to come ready to compete and what it takes to get to the next step. We’re not at the level of championship baseball.”

But No. 12 Texas (17–11, 5–1 Big 12) will look to rid itself of the midweek blues Tuesday night against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The Longhorns host the Islanders (11–12, 3–6 Southland), who are coming off a 2–1 series loss against Stephen F. Austin. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi enters the contest having lost seven of its last eight.

The Longhorns will try to right the ship Tuesday night after a disappointing sweep against Nebraska this weekend. The Longhorns struggled at the plate, where they were held to three runs on 12 hits in the three-game series against the Cornhuskers.

The Longhorns will also look to solve their mid-week pitching problems. In Texas’ loss to UT-Arlington, starting sophomore pitcher Kacy Clemens threw four innings and only allowed one run, but Texas’ bullpen gave up five runs and blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning.

After the snafu in Arlington, Garrido moved pitcher Josh Sawyer to the Tuesday starting role in hopes of revitalizing the struggling sophomore lefty.

But in his first Tuesday start of the season, Sawyer got rocked early against Texas State. He gave up a home run on the first at-bat of the game. Sawyer only lasted three innings and gave up two runs.

“We wanted to see what [moving Sawyer] would do one way or another,” Garrido said. “We’ll find the answer to this.”

The Longhorns will need a good outing from their starting pitcher Tuesday night, as Texas looks to get return to championship-level baseball. 

“We can’t just flip that switch,” Garrido said. “If you’re going to get better, you have to learn something from last Tuesday and apply it to this Tuesday. … We have to be able to win a lot of games in a row and be able to win after you lose and win on Tuesday when you’re really tired.”

Senior right fielder Connor Shaw has helped the Longhorns build confidence with his explosive hitting. Shaw hit a two-run home run in Texas’ win against Kansas State on Sunday.
Photo Credit: Thalia Juarez | Daily Texan Staff

The Texas starters were down 15 runs when their turn to bat in a practice came last week.

The result wouldn’t go in the record books. It wouldn’t be a loss or a win. The Longhorns were playing a game called 21 outs hoping to find their confidence again. 

The premise for the drill was simple: One team fields, and the other one bats until it reaches 21 outs. A comeback against the Texas second-string team would be the boost the team needed as the Longhorns were searching for their groove again.

After a disappointing 6–5 mid-week loss to UT-Arlington on Tuesday when the Longhorns gave up a 5–2 lead in the ninth inning, Texas was in search of confidence. 

Texas pitching coach Skip Johnson has wanted to play 21 outs during practice for years. Eventually, head coach Augie Garrido gave in to Johnson’s game in hopes of helping his team.

“We looked to develop confidence and trust in each other,” Garrido said.

As the starters tried to chip away at the second team’s lead, they did something they’ve done too often this season — they tried too hard. The starters received eight straight outs on missed hit balls. However, they settled down, found their groove and won with two outs left.

Although it’s a simple game one might find at the sandlot, it helped Texas get back into the swing of things.

“We came out and got refocused,” sophomore pitcher Kacy Clemens said. “It was a good practice. Everybody was upbeat and alive. It just got us ready for the weekend.”

The practice game and the two practices Texas had after losing to UT-Arlington helped, as the Longhorns swept Kansas State this past weekend.

“They came with a different level of confidence,” Garrido said. “The offensive players hit the balls hard throughout the series. They hit the balls deep. They could’ve taken the opportunity to be frustrated and disappointed. … That is a significant improvement over what most teams and most players are able to do.”

In Texas’ 6–1 win over the Wildcats on Sunday, senior right fielder Collin Shaw said the victory was the team’s most complete game of the season.

“I think [it was the best game] for sure,” Shaw said. “We have great pitching and really great defense, and we took good at bats 1-9 throughout the lineup.”

With their confidence growing, the Longhorns look to build off of their series sweep Tuesday, when they take on Texas State (10–12–1, 6–3 Sun Belt). The Bobcats are coming off of a 2–1 series loss to South Alabama.

Despite Texas State’s below-.500 record, the Longhorns look forward to playing an in-state team.

“It’s always a fun game [against Texas State],” Shaw said. “We know a lot of guys on their team, and they know a lot of guys on our team just [because we’ve grown] up in the state of Texas. They’re always a competitive team, and they’ll be ready to play. It’ll be a fun game.”

First pitch Tuesday night is scheduled for 6 p.m. in San Marcos.

Junior left fielder Ben Johnson hit an RBI double that was the starting point for the Longhorns’ five-run beatdown of the Wildcats.
Photo Credit: Thalia Juarez | Daily Texan Staff

In the fifth inning Sunday, Collin Shaw launched a ball onto Comal Street for a two-run home run.

After breaking a 1–1 tie in the same inning, the senior right fielder’s second home run of the season at UFCU Disch-Falk Field gave Texas a 4-1 lead over No. 14 Kansas State.

“[I’ve just been] going [to the plate] with the approach of helping the team win no matter the situation,” Shaw said.

Texas eventually took a 6–1 win and secured a three-game sweep over the Wildcats.

The Longhorns jumped on Kansas State early in the game. After the Wildcats retired the first two Longhorns in the first, junior shortstop C.J Hinojosa lined a ball into right for a single. Sophomore catcher Tres Barrera then brought Hinojosa home with a double off the left-field wall.

Texas had a chance to add to its 1–0 lead in the second when redshirt freshman Bret Boswell hit a lead-off single and freshman catcher Michael Cantu followed with a walk. Sophomore pitcher Kacy Clemens batted in the designated hitter’s spot and bunted the two runners into scoring position, but Texas left them stranded.

The Wildcats took advantage of the Longhorns’ misfortune in the third, as Kansas State tied the game at 1–1. The game went into a stalemate until the fifth inning, when junior left fielder Ben Johnson hit an RBI double to give Texas a 2–1 lead. The Longhorns continued their onslaught with Shaw’s two-run blast.

Texas added a run in the seventh inning and its final run in the eighth, when Boswell hit an RBI single down the middle to score Barrera and extend the lead to 6–1.

After a disappointing midweek loss to UT-Arlington, Johnson said coming back and the hitting the ball well this weekend helped Texas’ momentum.

“You got to give credit to [UT-Arlington]. They played a great game,” Johnson said. “It’s just something we had to learn from. We have a great, mature team, and if something like that happens, we got to learn from it. And I think we did that this weekend.”

In addition to Texas’ hitting Sunday, the Longhorns turned in solid performance from Clemens. He pitched five innings, allowing two hits and one run and striking out one.

“[Clemens’] outing was good,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “Each time, he’s progressed. That’s what winners do. That’s only the seventh time he’s pitched in two years. He’s quite an improvement and quite an addition to the pitching staff.”

Although Garrido said he liked what he saw from Clemens, Clemens said he still felt he had room to improve.

“I think my changeup and slider has been better,” Clemens said. “I think I had the best stuff against UT-Arlington. Today, I really couldn’t locate my off-speed as well as I wanted to.”

Junior pitcher Travis Duke replaced Clemens in the sixth and freshman Connor Mayes closed the final 2 2–3 innings of play with two strikeouts and zero hits allowed.

Texas (16–8) will look to build off its sweep when it plays Texas State (10–12–1, 6–3 Sun Belt) at 6 p.m. Tuesday in San Marcos.

Freshman forward Myles Turner (52) was the only Texas player to score in double digits on Tuesday against UT-Arlington.

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

The Texas basketball big men dominated the paint on defense all night long.

Their performance proved to be just enough to allow the Longhorns to overcome their sloppiest offensive performance of the season and eke out a closer-than-expected 63-53 win over UT-Arlington.

No. 6 Texas recorded a school-record-tying 13 blocks, including eight in the first half, while out-rebounding the Mavericks 52-25. Freshman forward Myles Turner and his five blocks led the Longhorns and forced UT-Arlington to settle for shots outside the lane throughout the game. The Mavericks finished the game just 20-of-55 from the field.

The Texas offense made just 18-of-60 field-goal attempts, good for a season-low 30 field-goal percentage. It marked the third game in its last five that Texas got off to a slow start offensively. The Longhorns began the game just 2-of-14 from the field, including 1-of-9 from beyond the 3-point arc, and trailed 15-7 after 6-and-a-half minutes.

“We came out slow,” senior forward Jonathan Holmes said. “We’ve got to do a better job.”

Texas went on a 32-13 scoring run from there to enter halftime with a 39-28 lead. But the Mavericks kept hanging around. They made just enough shots to take advantage of the Longhorns’ struggles and keep it close, trailing by as few as 5 points with under 7 minutes remaining in the game.

“[Head coach Rick Barnes] really just wanted us to put this one away and get ready for the next game because this is behind us,” Turner said. “We’re going to watch film and get better from it.”

Turner was the only player to score in double digits for either team, tallying 18 points despite connecting on only 2-of-10 shots. He went 14-of-17 from the free-throw line.

Holmes tied his career high with 16 rebounds to lead Texas, but he scored 9 points on 3-of-11 shooting and went just 1-of-7 on 3-pointers. Junior center Cameron Ridley had another down game, grabbing just two rebounds after failing to record any Sunday against UConn. He played 17 minutes, his fourth consecutive game of under 20 minutes.

The narrow victory was alarming for Texas, considering that No. 1 Kentucky dominated UT-Arlington in its 92-44 victory last week. The Longhorns take on the Wildcats in Lexington on Friday, but Holmes said the players weren’t looking ahead during their game against the Mavericks.

“We made a conscious effort,” Holmes said. “We watched a lot of film on these guys. We game planned for this game just like we game plan for every other game. We talked amongst ourselves that this team isn’t someone we can look over because they play really hard.”

With the victory, the Longhorns improved to 7-0 on the season and 4-0 at home. They know they’ll have to play much better Friday against Kentucky, which is widely considered the nation’s best team, to keep their undefeated season alive.

Sophomore guard Kendal Yancy was one of the few Texas players to have a good offensive performance in the Longhorns’ 63-53 win over UT-Arlington on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

The men’s basketball team found itself in a close one against a lower-ranked UT-Arlington team but pulled out a 63-53 victory in the end. Freshman forward Myles Turner led the Longhorns with an 18 point, 10 rebound double-double. Here are some notes from Tuesday’s game.

Javan Felix’s left foot

Near the end of the first half, junior guard Javan Felix went down and was slow to get up. The play continued as Felix lay on the ground clutching his left foot — the same one that caused him to miss the game against St. Francis last Tuesday. He walked off the court under his own power before being examined by the medical staff. He returned before halftime and appeared to be all right. Head coach Rick Barnes acknowledged that Felix is banged up but didn’t seem too concerned. He will go against Kentucky on Friday.

Texas’ poor 3-point shooting

Going 5-27 (18.5 percent) from deep may have cut it against a weaker UT-Arlington squad, but it won’t against Kentucky or the majority of the Big 12 teams on Texas’ schedule. Senior forward Jonathan Holmes connected on just 1-of-7. Felix only got 1-of-4. Those are Texas’ two best shooters. The shots weren’t contested, forced shots, either, as many of them were wide-open looks.

“We had so many wide-open shots,” Barnes said. “Some nights they don’t go in.”

Jordan Barnett and Damarcus Croaker struggle

The two wings have found themselves in Barnes’ doghouse. With a lesser opponent, UT-Arlington, in town, though, they got some minutes and did nothing to improve their chances of getting into the rotation. Barnett, a 6-foot-6 freshman wing forward, went 0-for-6 from the field in 8 minutes.  Barnett is still struggling to hit shots from the corner pocket — which was supposed to be his shot. Croaker splashed an early three then disappeared. He finished with a team-worst +/- of -7 in just 4 minutes, including a bad shot on 3-point heave that no one expected — drawing the ire of Barnes.

Kendal Yancy’s emergence

Sophomore guard Kendal Yancy is stepping up at just the right time. He was the most efficient Longhorn guard Tuesday night, notching nine points on 3-of-5 shooting in 30 minutes. His +17 was the best on the team as the offense seemed to thrive while he was playing. Since sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor went down, Yancy’s minutes have more than doubled, and he’s made the most of them.

Ridley’s disappearance

Starting junior center Cameron Ridley recorded only two rebounds against UT-Arlington in just 17 minutes. That’s two more rebounds than he got at UConn. He’s found his way to the bench, as Barnes goes to Turner more and more. Ridley’s disappearance isn’t a result of foul trouble either. Yes, UTA did have a smaller lineup on the floor, but Ridley still got three early touches deep in the post and didn’t do much with them.  

“He’s not confident right now,” Barnes said.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

ARLINGTON, Texas-- With three minutes left to play Saturday night, UCLA backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel made the majority of AT&T Stadium fall silent.

From 33 yards out, the quarterback tossed a long ball to UCLA receiver Jordan Payton to put the Bruins up by three and end Texas’ hope of defeating a top-15 opponent.

UCLA beat Texas 20-17, though, the Longhorns were able to rebound from an embarrassing loss last weekend against BYU and come within minutes of beating the No. 12 Bruins.

“I just like overall how this team bounced back from a week ago,” Texas head coach Charlie Strong said. “ And I told them ‘ Just keep fighting, keep battling and good things are gonna happen. These close games, we are going to be able to go win them.’ But it’s just hard right now, it’s tough in that locker room because I just know they just laid it out there and gave it all they had.”

The Longhorns had multiple opportunities against the Bruins, who were without starting quarterback Brett Hundley for most of the game. With less than five minutes left in the first quarter, Hundley was taken out with a left elbow injury and it became a battle of the quarterbacks in Arlington. Neuheisel replaced Hundley under center, leading his team to their third straight victory.

Neuheisel finished the game 23 for 30 with 178 yards and two touchdowns.

In his second start of his career, sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes looked more comfortable. Swoopes completed 24 of 34 attempts for 196 yards and a career-high two touchdowns.

Swoopes' two most impressive throws of the game were completions to senior wide receiver John Harris, the first coming on fourth down near the end of the second quarter for 33 yards to get Texas to the UCLA five yard line.

“Fourth and eight, I had to keep the drive going alive,” Harris said. “So, you know, just had to step up and make a big play, so I did.”

The Longhorns scored a touchdown three plays later to take a 10-3 lead heading into halftime.

On the first play of the second half, UCLA running back Paul Perkins took the ball and ran 58 yards to the Texas 17-yard line after breaking an attempted tackle by redshirt senior linebacker Jordan Hicks. The burst was 23 yards longer than the total yards UCLA ran for in the first half and represented the Bruins' longest run of the game.

Down by three, Texas showed a glimmer of hope, responding with an 80-yard touchdown drive to take a 17-13 lead with 5:13 left to play in the game on an eight-yard touchdown reception by Harris.

UCLA fumbled on its ensuing drive when senior linebacker Steve Edmond forced the ball from Bruins running back Jordon James. The Longhorns were unable to move the ball on their penultimate drive and punted it back to the Bruins, who returned it for 45 yards to set up the game-winning score.

“Just can’t give up the big plays,” Strong said of the game-losing sequence. ”You look at it, we go up by a touchdown, we get the ball back.  We just don’t take no time off the clock.  And then we end up punting the ball from our territory, and guy has a really good return and get up our hitch and go.”

Texas finished with 322 yards of total offense, tallying 196 yards of passing and 126 yards on the ground.

 

Check out more photos from the game in the slideshow below - 

After his defense was torched against BYU last weekend for 429 yards at home, defensive coordinator Vance Bedford told the team to “look in the mirror” and face reality. 

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford has some advice for the Longhorns: Take a look in the mirror.

“If you can’t be your worst critic when you wake up in the morning, and you look in the mirror, what do you see?” Bedford said. “Some [players] walk around with a crown on their head all the time. They really need to take the crown off and see reality.”

If the players don’t see reality now — BYU’s 41-7 destruction last week certainly looked like reality — it will hit them full force in Arlington on Saturday. Reality will take the form of Brett Hundley, Heisman candidate UCLA junior quarterback; Myles Jack, sophomore two-way linebacker and running back; and the remainder of the threat that No. 12 UCLA poses. To prepare, the defensive squad is trying to take Bedford’s advice to heart. They didn’t quite look in a literal mirror, but they did watch game film.

“Our whole attitude is that, if we expect something to change, and we want to be the best defense in the country, then we have to act like it,” senior defensive tackle Desmond Jackson said. “We have to go out there and play with some juice, play angry, play smart and play fundamentally sound. Last week, we didn’t do that.”       

The squad found the “little things” that they say prevented their efficiency, as well as the more glaring problems, such as last week’s six missed sacks.

“When you have opportunity in life, you have to make the best of them,” Bedford said. “In the game of football, when the ball is in the air, you have the opportunity to go make a play. We missed a lot of opportunities in that game in the third quarter. We didn’t give ourselves a chance.”

Although Bedford, head coach Charlie Strong and the rest of the coaching staff seek to give the Longhorns as many opportunities as possible once they’re on the field, the road to playing time is longer than it once was. Suspensions abound when players don’t follow the rules, which will leave Texas with a compromised lineup this weekend. But Bedford sees the adjustment as just one more reminder that the players need to face reality.

“If you’re a parent at home, and your child does something wrong [with no consequences], what are you teaching that kid?” Bedford said. “As a football coach, guess what? You’re a parent. You’re a parent, you’re a teacher, you’re a counselor, you’re a psychologist. You’re all of those things in one. You have to be an extension of mom and dad, teach them discipline and how to do [the] little things right.”

As the Longhorn line-up seems to shift by the week — junior quarterback David Ash, senior center Dominic Espinosa and senior receiver Jaxon Shipley have all sustained injuries in recent games — and inexperienced players step up, the parent-child metaphor becomes increasingly apt. The coaching staff seeks to transition new players, just as parents help their children through pivotal life moments. Against BYU, the transition didn’t seem fully developed.

Heading into Arlington, the Longhorns have a chance to prove they’ve hit that development and can handle their first away game, albeit at a neutral venue. The first family vacation isn’t always smooth, but, if Bedford and the “parents” have trained their children well, they should like what they see in the mirror.

Ben Johnson led the Longhorns past UT-Arlington on Tuesday evening with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate, along with three RBIs and four runs scored. Texas had little trouble against the Mavericks in a 10-2 victory. 

Photo Credit: Mengwen Cao | Daily Texan Staff

After just one hit through the first two innings, sophomore left fielder Ben Johnson made sure Tuesday night wouldn’t be a repeat for Texas.

The sixth-ranked Longhorns (30-8, 9-3 Big 12) knocked off UT-Arlington (16-21) 10-2, extending the team’s win-streak to four games after their sweep of Oklahoma over the weekend. Texas tallied seven hits against the Mavericks, a number that made head coach Augie Garrido happy after his team got just one hit last Tuesday night.

“It seemed almost like a minor league professional game,” Garrido said. “There wasn’t a lot of energy, but there was a whole heck of a lot of good plays. They have a spirit and an energy about them that’s called confidence, and I think they’re sticking to the fundamentals of the game, and they’re sticking to the code.”

UT-Arlington struck first in the ball game, chasing freshman pitcher Blake Goins after just one inning and taking a 1-0 lead heading to the third. Following a Zane Gurwitz single, Johnson smashed his team-leading fourth home run over the left-field wall to give Texas a lead it would never give up.

“I think we captured a lot of the momentum with our pitching, oddly enough,” Garrido said. “I think [sophomore pitcher] Chad Hollingsworth, when he came into the game, turned the game around.”

Texas padded its lead in the fourth inning, showcasing great plate discipline in the process. Johnson singled in another run before back-to-back walks, and a sacrifice fly by junior outfielder Collin Shaw added two more to make the Longhorns’ lead 6-1 after four innings.

UT-Arlington’s only threat came in the top of the fifth inning when it scored on an RBI single to make the Texas lead 6-2. The Longhorns responded again in the bottom half of the sixth when Johnson came across the plate for the third time on a wild pitch.

The Longhorns notched its third three-run outburst of the game when freshman catcher Tres Barrera cleared the bases with a three-RBI triple. With that hit, Barrera eclipsed the 0.300 mark for batting average for the first time this season.

“I think we just played really consistent throughout and put a lot of runs on the board,” Johnson said. “We did a great job of executing. We’ve been doing that the last couple of weeks and it’s really been paying off for us.”

Johnson’s 2-for-3 and three-RBI performance raised his batting average eight points to 0.295, good enough for third-best on the team behind senior outfielder Mark Payton (0.348) and Barrera (0.302).

Texas will look to extend its win streak Thursday when it hosts the first game of its three-game series with TCU.

“We’re anxious,” Johnson said. “I mean obviously [The Horned Frogs are] a really good team. [They have a] great pitching staff with Brandon Finnegan, and a bunch of those guys [are] potential first round draft picks. We’re excited. We love facing those kind of pitchers, and we’re really excited for this weekend.”

The last two of Demarcus Holland's career-high 23 points came on this game-winning dunk with 1:03 left in the Longhorns' 72-69 win over UT-Arlington on Friday evening.

Photo Credit: Joe Capraro | Daily Texan Staff

Texas came back from a 12-point deficit to beat UT-Arlington 72-69 at the Frank Erwin Center on Friday evening. Check out the photos from the game: