Ricky Jacquez

Freshman pitcher Ricky Jacquez dismissed from team

Freshman pitcher Ricky Jacquez was dismissed from the team on Monday after a second violation of an undisclosed team policy, the school announced.

Jacquez was scheduled to start Sunday May 6 at Missouri but was a late scratch after he became sick on the mound during his warmup pitches. He was also inactive during the entire April 20-22 series against Kansas.

According to a source with intimate knowledge of the situation, Jacquez found himself in hot water in the fall of 2011 after the coaching staff learned of possible marijuana use, but after a meeting with the athletics administration, attended by A.D. DeLoss Dodds, Jacquez was given another chance. The school decided a second incident in one year was enough to warrant the dismissal.

Jacquez was 2-1 on the season with a 5.79 ERA and was a candidate to replace Parker French in the rotation after his season ending elbow injury.
The losses of Jacquez and French leave the Texas staff extremely thin and it will take some creative decisions by the coaching staff to help keep the pitching staff afloat. 

Payton's solo shot, diving grab lift Longhorns to series win over Oklahoma State

For the third straight weekend, Texas went into the final contest of a three-game series having split the previous two games. Not only that, but the Longhorns had won one and lost the other one of those two rubber matches.

So the fact that Texas and Oklahoma State were tied going into the eighth inning should not have been all that surprising. The Longhorns and Cowboys were in a similar spot Friday evening, when they were tied at 1-1 until the 11th inning.

This time, sophomore right fielder Mark Payton, who saved two runs from scoring with a diving catch earlier in the game, broke a 2-2 tie with a solo home run in the eighth inning. After junior pitcher Hoby Milner tossed a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his second save of the season, No. 23 Texas (20-13, 9-3) secured its fourth straight Big 12 series win with a 3-2 victory, its second of the day over Oklahoma State (18-16, 5-7).

Freshman Ricky Jacquez was tagged for two runs in the first inning after giving up two hits and issuing two walks in the first frame. He bounced back nicely after that rocky start, striking out six in four innings and working out of jams in each of his last two innings of work.

"The game could have been 6-1 or 8-1 after three innings without him pitching out of those situations," said Texas head coach Augie Garrido. "It was a long day. They competed for 18 innings and they were pretty consistent."

Sophomore third baseman Erich Weiss' RBI double in the bottom half of the first inning cut Oklahoma State's lead in half at 2-1. Then, freshman center fielder Taylor Stell raced home after Weiss was thrown out on a safety squeeze bunt attempt in the third inning to tie the game at 2-2. Stell, who went 2-for-5 between the two wins Saturday, was also hit by a pitch three times.

"I didn't really feel like I was crowding the plate but they just kept hitting me and I kept getting on base," Stell said. "If he's going to throw it inside, you just let it go off your arm. It hurts for a little bit but it's a way to get on base."

Payton made the first of two crucial plays in the next inning. Jacquez gave up a leadoff double and issued a one-out walk after a sacrifice bunt advanced the leadoff batter to third base. With two outs and Cowboys baserunners at second and third, Oklahoma State catcher Jared Womack lifted a ball to shallow right field. Payton sprinted to it, leapt, and snagged the ball while his fully-extended body, parallel to the turf, was still airborne.

"I thought I could make an aggressive play in the outfield and I was lucky enough to come up with it," Payton said. "I got a pretty good jump on it and was lucky enough that the wind was blowing to left field."

Payton took advantage of that wind Friday night with a double off the left field wall in the eighth inning. But he was stranded on second and Texas eventually lost the series opener, 3-1, in extra innings. Payton, again in the eighth and again with one out, launched a ball toward the same place, but this time around, the ball cleared the left-field wall.

"He's pretty clutch," said freshman pitcher Parker French, who threw eight scoreless innings in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader. "He always seems to square up the ball in big moments. He's awesome. He's tough to face. He's a tough out."

Erich Weiss went 2-for-4 and had two RBIs during Texas' 5-2 win over Texas A&M Prairie View.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Howeth | Daily Texan Staff

For the second straight game, the Longhorns came back to beat A&M.

The only difference was that Tuesday’s win came against Prairie View A&M and it wasn’t nearly as dramatic as Texas’ ninth-inning rally in its 2-1 victory over Texas A&M Sunday afternoon. But after falling behind in the fourth inning against the Panthers, the No. 24 Longhorns (26-16, 11-6) used RBI singles from sophomore third baseman Erich Weiss and junior left fielder Jonathan Walsh in the fifth frame to take down Prairie View A&M (22-21, 13-7), 5-2, Tuesday evening at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

“That’s kind of been like us all year,” sophomore right fielder Mark Payton, who racked up a game-high three hits, including a pivotal single.

Texas fell behind in the fourth inning when freshman pitcher Ricky Jacquez gave up a leadoff double to deep left-center field. The next batter, Brett Valley, beat out a bunt single down the third base line before Jacquez fielded a bunt by the following hitter, Brad Benes, and spun around to throw for a forced out at third base. But, Weiss was nowhere to be found and Jacquez recovered to throw the runner out at first base. Panthers clean-up man Dominiq Harris delivered a two-run single up the middle with the bases loaded that put the Longhorns in a 2-1 hole.

“The defense played well. That’s encouraging,” said Texas head coach Augie Garrido about his defense, which didn’t commit an error for the second straight game after committing eight in the previous two. “They made all the plays that they needed to make, except for the confusion twice on the bunt. Outside of that, it was a flawless game.”

The Longhorns roared back in the fifth frame. Senior center fielder Tim Maitland, filling in for the injured freshman Taylor Stell, was hit by a pitch for the team-leading 13th time with one out before Payton singled and freshman second baseman Brooks Marlow was also beaned. Then, with the bases loaded, Weiss singled softly up the middle to bring home Maitland and tie the contest at 2-2. That set the stage for Walsh’s sharp single to right, also with the bases loaded, that gave Texas a 4-2 lead and all the offense it would need.

Since April 13, the Longhorns are batting 8-for-12 (.667) with the bases juiced after hitting just 6-for-34 (.176) in that same situation previously this year. Weiss, who picked up the first of two bases-loaded base hits in that fifth inning, said that Texas has emphasized that situation more often in scrimmages recently.

“Coach Garrido talked to us about not seeing the runners on base and pretending like they’re not there and taking that at-bat like you’re a leadoff hitter,” said Weiss. “During the beginning of the season, we were hitting the ball well but we were hitting it right at them. Now they’re starting to fall in for us. About time.”

Stell, who last played in Friday’s 6-5 loss to Texas A&M in College Station, had surgery Tuesday to repair a knee injury he suffered in last week’s 4-2 victory over Central Arkansas. Garrido said that he’ll be out at least three weeks but hopes to have him back in time for the NCAA Tournament that begins next month. 

Printed on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 as: Weiss, Walsh lead fifth inning rally

Nathan Thornhill and the rest of the Longhorns’ starting rotation has started to round into form, as they have a combined 1.16 ERA in the last five games while holding batters to a .200 average.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

Considering the fact that Texas did not bring back either of its three starting pitchers from last year, the Longhorns’ starting pitchers have done well this season.

They’ve done particularly well in the team’s last five games, four of which have been Texas triumphs. Dillon Peters, Nathan Thornhill, Parker French and Ricky Jacquez — all freshmen, except sophomore Thornhill — have a combined 1.16 ERA, hold batters to a .200 batting average and strike out more than four times as many hitters as they walk.

“They’re coming together,” said Longhorns head coach Augie Garrido of his pitching staff. “There’s been steady improvement. We’ve got young pitchers that have developed as the season goes on, and that’s what we want for the whole team — is to get better from the wins and from the losses.”

The Texas lineup, on the other hand, has not performed as well during that stretch. The Longhorns are batting .234 and have struck out nearly three times as much as they’ve walked. Over a 17-game period beginning with its first win over Texas State in March, Texas scored 7.6 runs per game but have scored less than three times in its last four contests heading into a three-game home series against Kansas beginning Friday night.

“We’ve got to take quality at-bats and build our innings more consistently,” Garrido said. “I’d like to see us get back on top of getting that leadoff hitter on and getting them over, extending rallies, extending rallies with two outs, extending at-bats with two strikes. That’s the type of game we have to play to win big.”

The only loss over this five-game period was last Friday, when the Longhorns spoiled a superb outing by Thornhill, who left the game with 1-0 lead in the seventh inning. Texas ended up falling, 3-1, to Oklahoma State in 11 innings but Thornhill will look to improve to 5-2 against the Jayhawks today.

“I feel like I’m getting more and more comfortable every week,” said Thornhill. “Throwing the fastball early and then coming in with a changeup, that’s kind of what I do.”

The following day, French turned in by far the best outing of his young college career and arguably the best performance by a Texas starting pitcher this year. He did not allow a run in eight innings, extending his streak of consecutive scoreless innings at home to 25.1. He’ll have an opportunity to add to that impressive mark Saturday.

“The comfort of pitching at home has helped,” French said. “The sinker was moving late and being able to mix in the slider and changeup kept them off balance. Starting in around the fifth inning, they just started pounding the ball into the ground. The defense went to work. It was awesome.”

Kansas is in a four-way tie for last place in the Big 12 standings at 3-9, and is the only team in the conference with an overall losing record at 15-23. But these starters — Thornhill, French and Jacquez — will come in handy when Texas takes on the likes of No. 9 Texas A&M next weekend and No. 3 Baylor, who has yet to lose in 15 games against Big 12 opponents.

Printed on Friday, April 20, 2012 as: Rotation torching opponents early in Big 12 play

Junior outfielder Jonathan Walsh takes off for first base during Wednesday’s game. Walsh went 3-4, knocking in 5 RBI in the process.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

After Texas jumped out to a four-run, first-inning lead, it looked like the Longhorns would win easily. They won, but it wasn’t easy. Had it not been for juniors Hoby Milner and Jonathan Walsh, they might not have won at all.

Texas held a 4-0 advantage after the first frame but saw that lead erased by the end of the third inning, when freshman pitcher Ricky Jacquez surrendered four hits and four runs. Just like that, the Longhorns trailed UT-Pan American, 5-4. But thanks to Milner, who tossed six scoreless innings, Texas hung in the game long enough for junior designated hitter Landon Steinhagen to score game-tying and go-ahead runs in the fourth and sixth innings.

Milner picked up the win, improving to 5-3 on the year, as the Longhorns beat the Broncs, 9-5, Wednesday night at UFCU Disch-Falk Field as they have won nine of their last 10 games.

“It was a masterful job. Hats off to Hoby,” said Texas head coach Augie Garrido. “He was really effective against good hitters. He had a great presence on the mound, good command.”

Walsh hit a two-run triple to deep right-center field in the first inning and scored on a wild pitch before an RBI double to left-center by sophomore first baseman Alex Silver. In Walsh’s last seven games — each of which he has registered multiple hits — he is hitting .529 while scoring nine times and driving 13 runs. Walsh, a junior left fielder, homered for the first time this season in the eighth inning and racked up 5 RBIs.

“He’s just having fun playing ball and he’s got a lot of confidence going for him right now,” Garrido said. “He told someone that it made him feel good that I put him in the four-hole and I didn’t do it because of that. I did it because nobody was doing anything.”

But UT-Pan American did not go down without a fight. Sophomore right fielder Mark Payton threw out a Broncs runner at the plate after Silver made his first error of the season but could not keep freshman Dillon Peters from giving up his first run of the game on an RBI single by Adrian De La Rosa. Then, Jacquez began the third inning by allowing a pair of singles before Vincent Mejia blasted a game-tying home run over the left field wall and Angel Ibanez tripled and scored to give UT-Pan American a 5-4 lead.

In came Milner, who saw action in each of the Longhorns’ three games over the weekend against Kansas State, even getting a win in the series finale last Sunday. But Milner appeared well-rested, throwing 101 pitches and facing the minimum 18 batters over his six innings, picking off two of the four batters he allowed to reach base.

“Having two days off is enough for me,” Milner said. “We had four or five pitchers on the list and we were going to go one or two innings each, but I kind of got on a roll so they stuck with me.”

Had the Longhorns been set to face a Big 12 opponent this weekend, Garrido said, Milner would not have thrown more than two or three innings. But with Pac-12 foe Cal next on Texas’ schedule, the junior hurler was given the green light to finish the game.

“You saw a presence on the mound that he has in him that he’s had all along,” said sophomore catcher Jacob Felts. “He pounded the zone and worked ahead. All of his pitches were effective and he got guys out with every pitch.”

If two days of rest are indeed enough for Milner to get back on the mound, he could be throwing again as early as Saturday afternoon against the Golden Bears. But Garrido also said that there’s a chance he might not pitch at all this weekend.

Printed on Thursday, March 29, 2012 as: Milner, Walsh fuel late rally as Longhorns defeat Broncos

Following a bizarre catcher’s interference call by the home plate umpire, Ricky Jacquez found himself mired in a fifth-inning bases-loaded, two-out jam.

But the freshman pitcher, with a 2-2 count on junior shortstop Joey Boney, calmly reared back and painted the outside corner with his fastball to strike Boney out looking and end the threat. Jacquez, who hadn’t allowed a hit in the four previous innings, threw five scoreless innings while striking out seven and walking just one to pick up his first career victory as Texas (6-8) took down Loyola Marymount (6-8), 3-1, in the second game of Sunday afternoon’s doubleheader at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

“Ricky got into trouble in the fifth and pitched his way out of it and I thought that was really outstanding,” said Texas head coach Augie Garrido. “It was huge – the difference between the game being tied or them being ahead with runners on second and third with one out.”

After going the entire first game of the doubleheader without pushing a run across the plate – or advancing a baserunner past second base – the Longhorns once again struggled offensively. After not scoring in either of the first two innings of Game 2, Texas had scored only one run and batted .129 (9-for-70) over a 21-inning stretch dating back to Tuesday’s 2-1, 12-inning triumph over Dallas Baptist.

But the third inning against Loyola Marymount temporarily broke that funk as junior designated hitter Kyle Lusson began the frame with a leadoff single, which was followed by a sacrifice bunt from sophomore catcher Jacob Felts. Senior shortstop Jordan Etier struck out swinging but leadoff hitter and sophomore right fielder Mark Payton walked on four pitches, which brought senior center fielder Tim Maitland to the plate.

Maitland, who leads the team with a .293 batting average and a .420 on-base percentage, tripled down the right-field line to bring Payton and Lusson home and provide the Longhorns pitching staff all the run support they would need. Sophomore closer Corey Knebel allowed a run in the sixth inning but picked up a six-out save, his fourth of the season. For the fourth straight time Texas scored three runs or fewer.

“I don’t think anyone would say we have any kind of rhythm on offense,” Garrido admitted. “They do a great job in the batting practices and the scrimmages so there’s still the mental factor when the game starts – is it about a fear of failure? A lack of experience, or lack thereof? What is the issue? It’s a complicated game and a lot of it is right between your ears.”

Thanks to a pitching staff that allowed only two runs in two games Sunday afternoon, none of which were surrendered in the 12.1 collective innings thrown by Longhorns starting pitchers (Nathan Thornhill and Jacquez), Texas may not need a whole lot from its offense.

Erich Weiss watches an errant throw roll past third base during UT’s 5-2 loss to Duke Sunday. An error on the play allowed one run to score.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

When the Longhorns fell behind Saturday night, they responded immediately and picked up their first comeback win of the season.

But when Duke put Texas in an early 3-0 hole on Sunday afternoon, the Longhorns fell just short of nabbing their second come-from-behind victory and No. 13 Texas lost to Duke, 5-2, as the Blue Devils avoided getting swept in the season-opening series.

Freshman John Curtiss took the loss in his first start and Longhorns debut. He allowed three runs in three innings. Curtiss surrendered an RBI single to Duke first baseman Andy Perez in the second inning and let the Blue Devils score twice in the third frame, once on a passed ball and once on a sacrifice fly that would have gone for extra bases had freshman left fielder Collin Shaw not made a full-length diving catch.

Duke didn't score again until the ninth inning, but Texas managed to get only five hits and went a full five innings without a base hit from the middle of the second through the seventh inning.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t back up a real quality performance — not only by Ricky [Jacquez], but I thought John pitched well too,” said Longhorns head coach Augie Garrido. “I think we have a chance to have a good offense, I think we have a chance to have a good pitching staff and I think we have a chance to have a good team. But I don’t think we have an overwhelming team. I think it has a solid team that has to play consistently and efficiently to be successful.”

Another freshman pitcher made his college debut Sunday as Ricky Jacquez took over for Curtiss and tossed five scoreless innings to keep Texas within striking distance. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound hurler from El Paso scattered four hits and struck out four. Garrido said that Jacquez performed better in his first game than he did in any practice leading up to the contest.

Senior Kevin Lusson made his first start at first base and made the most of it. Lusson doubled in his first at-bat of the season and launched a two-run home run in the eighth inning to pull UT within one run of Duke, 3-2. Sophomore Erich Weiss singled before Lusson’s blast, but the only two hits Texas notched were a Mark Payton single in the seventh inning and a Brooks Marlow infield single.

“It felt good since it was 3-0 at the time and it got us [within one run],” Lusson said. “It gave us a little momentum. It felt great. But I would have liked to have taken the win over the home run.”
Following Lusson's homer, however, the wheels fell off.

Pitcher Kirby Bellow fielded a sacrifice bunt in the ninth inning, but threw it to third baserunner after a Duke baserunner had already arrived. Then, shortstop Christian Summers made a bad throw home, which was followed by another poor toss across the diamond by Lusson. The miscues in the final frame allowed two unearned runs to score.

“The truth of the matter is that we’ve been practicing for two and a half weeks. Today, it looked like it,” Garrido said. “We made some poor decisions in the ninth inning. There were lots of decisions to be made and we made the wrong ones and it resulted in us losing.”

Texas had the opportunity to sweep its season-opening series after winning both games of a doubleheader Saturday. Sophomore Nathan Thornhill made his first start at the front of the Longhorns rotation and threw five scoreless innings while allowing only three hits.

The majority of Thornhill's run support in Texas' opener came courtesy of freshman second baseman Brooks Marlow. In his Longhorns debut, Marlow knocked two home runs over the right field wall, driving in three runs and leading Texas to a 4-0 victory.

“Everybody's told me from day one that he's that kid that when the lights are on, he shines,” said sophomore right fielder Mark Payton. “Not many guys, with these new bats, could hit two home runs in one game.”

Payton helped Texas beat Duke in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader, going 3-for-4 with a game-tying, two-run double in the second inning. Senior center fielder Tim Maitland added two hits and two runs.

“We made a joke the other day when we were at practice,” Payton said. “I was batting first, Timmy was batting second and Brooks was batting third. We said we had the smallest 1-2-3 in the country. But even if we're the smallest 1-2-3 in the country, we'll try to have the biggest impact.”

Like Thornhill earlier that afternoon, junior Hoby Milner started and went five innings. He gave up three runs and picked up his first win.

Printed on Monday, February 20, 2012 as: Texas takes two of three from Duke


Sophomore Erich Weiss prepares to bat during Texas' 14-inning scrimmage against Houston.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

There’s not too much different about Erich Weiss this fall, only that he’s bigger, stronger and faster than he was as a freshman.

He’s working on growing a beard, too.

The sophomore third baseman showed all of it off Sunday in Texas’ scrimmage against Houston, knocking in two runs as the Longhorns topped the Cougars, 7-2.

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the thirteenth inning (the scrimmage was at a 14-inning length), Weiss hit a single to shallow center field. Ashford Fulmer, Houston’s center fielder, botched the pick up and allowed the ball to roll all the way to the back wall, giving Weiss just enough time to round all the bases and touch home. The play was ruled a single and an error, but the crowd didn’t care, calling for Weiss to give a curtain call.

“I didn’t think I would score, but I looked up at second base and the ball was all the way to the fence,” he said. “I almost tripped [coming home] though. I’ve been trying to get faster, trying to gain weight, trying to hit the ball a little farther.”

As for that beard: Weiss says the fledgling patch of facial hairs on his chin isn’t here to stay.

“Yeah, I need to shave,” he deadpanned.

But peach fuzz and whiskers weren’t the only new developments at Disch-Falk Field. The Longhorns were helped by a variety of newcomers, most notably freshman pitcher Ricky Jacquez, who struck out three Cougars and did not allow a hit in two innings of work.

“I was a little nervous at first, but I think I did pretty well. I maintained my composure,” said Jacquez, a righty from El Paso who was drafted by the Cubs in the 39th round of the 2011 MLB Draft.

With the departure of Taylor Jungmann and Cole Green, two of last year’s three weekend starters, the Longhorns are looking for pitching help. Jacquez proved he’d be a good candidate for the job.

“My goal is to start, and I’m going to try to be one,” he said. “But in the end, it’s up to the coaches. There have been a lot of good pitchers here. I’m young, I’m just going to try and contribute to the team.”

Another freshman standout was second baseman Brooks Marlow, who had two hits and drove in one run.

“It was an awesome moment,” Marlow said. “I was trying to make the fans love me, make everybody else around here love me.”

Published on Monday, October 17, 2011: Weiss' RBIs aid Texas in scrimmage