After losing 6-1 to Oklahoma State on Friday night, Texas head coach David Pierce didn’t hide his dissatisfaction, calling his team mentally “sloppy.”
The Longhorns definitely looked crisp on Saturday, routing the Cowboys 7-1 in the second game of a three-game series.
“I think they put too much pressure on themselves to do more than they’re capable of (yesterday),” Pierce said. “Nice bounce back though. (Oklahoma State) took advantage of some stuff that we did yesterday, and we did that today. Now we got a Sunday rubber match.”
Junior pitcher Nolan Kingham served as the team’s workhorse, throwing a career-high 117 pitches in eight innings. After throwing a complete game in his last start, this marked the third time this year Kingham has gone for at least eight innings.
For the second consecutive start, the right-hander didn’t walk any batters and has now walked only eight hitters on the season. With his full arsenal on display, Kingham was happy with his command and location Saturday afternoon.
“The whole day I said live and die with the sinker away, the fastball away and even my changeup,” Kingham said. “Everything down and away really worked today.”
Texas waited until the ninth inning to score Friday but was much quicker to strike Saturday. In the bottom of the third, sophomore infielder David Hamilton led off the frame with a walk. After stealing second, Hamilton advanced to third on a sacrifice fly from junior infielder Masen Hibbeler.
With Hamilton in scoring position, sophomore outfielder Duke Ellis squeezed in a two-out RBI single through Oklahoma State’s third baseman and shortstop to give Texas a 1-0 advantage.
The Longhorns added another run in the fourth. In the fifth, it was Ellis again coming through with a two-out RBI single. Redshirt junior Todd Shaw opened the inning with a double and, two batters later, Ellis sneaked in another hit through the infield.
Ellis said he kept his approach simple in two-out situations.
“I just stayed short to the ball,” Ellis said. “I found the pitch that I could hit hard and I kept (my swing) short and sweet.”
Oklahoma State drew closer in the sixth, adding a run to make the game 3-1. But that was as close as the Cowboys got.
In the bottom of the inning, Texas scored three runs to put the game on ice. Junior catcher DJ Petrinsky was the team’s catalyst, bringing in two runs with an RBI double down the left-field line.
After struggling with runners in scoring position this season, Petrinsky almost didn’t have the chance.
“I really considered pinch-hitting for him right there,” Pierce said. “I talked with him after his previous at-bat and just said, ‘Hey, just relax and be ready to get a pitch.’ Really happy for him because he’s been beating himself up.”
The Longhorns doubled their hitting total from Friday night, finishing with eight hits. Along with Ellis, sophomore outfielder Ryan Reynolds was the other Longhorn with a multi-hit game.
With the series tied at a game a piece, Texas and Oklahoma State square off in a rubber match at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. Junior pitcher Chase Shugart will get the start on the mound for the Longhorns.