Tres Barrera

Texas Tech sophomore Stephen Smith, left, and freshman shortstop Joe Baker have to be separated in a contentious match Sunday.
Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

Late in the ninth inning Sunday, Texas Tech sophomore Stephen Smith slid hard into freshman shortstop Joe Baker. As the two barked at each other, the Texas bench ran on to the field in a rare sign of emotion for the Longhorns.

“It’s just baseball,” sophomore catcher Tres Barrera said. “We’re just sticking up for our teammate. We saw a guy went in hard. You just got to back up your guy at all times, no matter what the score is.”

The move, about protection, was equally the result of raw emotion spilling onto the field as the Texas season hung in the balance. In a must-win game, Texas faltered to Texas Tech, 5–1, in a decisive series finale, just as it has done most of this season. The Red Raiders took the series with a 2-1 advantage. 

“It’s like going to the same movie over and over again,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “We continue not to take quality at-bats with runners in scoring position. When we have opportunities to score runs, we fail offensively to take our walks and sustain the rally that we need.”

Garrido said the team entered the weekend with the hope of sneaking into the NCAA Tournament. But the Longhorns flew off the radar in front of 6,284 faithful fans Sunday as a two-run home run by Texas Tech freshman shortstop Orlando Garcia sailed over the left-field wall in the fifth inning.

Despite recording eight hits, the Longhorns failed to produce any run-scoring drives as their only run came across on a walk. Texas played 24 innings of scoreless baseball over the weekend. It plated three runs in the fifth inning of Friday’s 3–0 win and one run in each of its losses.

“We haven’t capitalized when we needed to,” Barrera said. “We haven’t been able to put timely at-bats and timely hitting when we have runners in scoring position. That’s just the way it’s been.”

Texas has a .500 record and has failed to win back-to-back Big 12 games since late March. The team also dropped three mid-week games this season against UT-Arlington, Texas A&M–Corpus Christi and Sam Houston State. The Longhorns’ struggles started in early March when the team dropped a doubleheader against San Diego.  

“We had a lot of success, a lot of fight and a lot of expectations,” Garrido said. “I think when we lost the first three-game weekend, we started to feel differently about their ability to come back and win the game. We’ve had problem with RBIs.”

The Longhorns offense started off hot but quelled as the season grew. Texas put plenty of runners on base — as it did against the Red Raiders — but failed to bring home many runs. The biggest issue that hurt the Longhorns was their focus on their batting average, Garrido said.

“We became one dimensional; we only had one goal,” Garrido said. “Anybody who’s been around baseball for a long time … they know that the biggest demon of all the ones that are around is batting average.”

With four games left in the regular season, the team’s postseason hopes likely ride on winning the Big 12 Championship, a shock considering Garrido called this team as good as the 2005 national championship team earlier this season. 

Despite all the negativity surrounding this season, the players still believe a comeback is possible, according to freshman pitcher Connor Mayes.

“[The batters] are staying with it and going through the process that coach talks about, and that’s all we can do,” Mayes said. “We might be unlucky, but we just got to stay with it.” 

Freshman third baseman Bret Boswell had a nice game against Incarnate Word on Tuesday night in a 7–1 victory. His RBI double in the third drove in two runs to propel the Longhorns to their third straight win.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

ARLINGTON — Texas had the win in sight.

With the game tied at two going into the top of the ninth, the Longhorns struck for three runs in the inning, including a two-run triple by sophomore catcher Tres Barrera to take a 5-2 lead.

But for the first time all season, the Texas bullpen faltered with the game on the line.

Senior relief pitcher Ty Marlow gave up back-to-back hits to start the bottom of the ninth. Fellow senior relief pitcher Kirby Bellow gave up another hit to load the bases. Then freshman closer Kyle Johnston then came in, walked in a run and then gave up a two-run single to left, allowing UTA to tie the game at five-all.

And in the top of the tenth, junior relief pitcher Ty Culbreth gave up a leadoff triple and then threw a wild pitch, allowing UTA to take a 6-5 win at Globe Life Park on Tuesday night.

“It’s very difficult [to lose a game like that],” head coach Augie Garrido said. “We take pride in our pitching.”

Texas had a number chances early on in the game. The Longhorns drew three walks to load the bases in the top of the second with one out. But junior left fielder Ben Johnson flied out on the first pitch he saw, and senior right fielder Collin Shaw struck out looking to end the inning.

But it wasn’t until the sixth that the Longhorns finally capitalized on their opportunities.

Barrera singled to left to lead off the inning and scored a couple of batters later on a single by freshman first baseman Michael Cantu.

After UTA retook the lead a half inning prior, sophomore center fielder Zane Gurwitz led off the top of the seventh by reaching on an error by shortstop Travis Sibley and advanced to second as the ball sailed into the stands. After Gurwitz took third on a sacrifice fly, junior shortstop C.J Hinojosa managed to leg out an infield single to third, allowing Gurwitz to score to tie the game at 2-2.

Then in the ninth, with two on and two outs, Hinojosa singled to left to score Gurwitz to give Texas its first lead of the game. Barrera then followed that up with a two-run triple to right-center field to up the Longhorns’ advantage to 5-2.

“It was our only inning of being aggressive, I think, because it was the last inning and it was tied,” Garrido said. “So they played the game up to their ability level.”

But the lead wouldn’t last long. UTA quickly loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth and finally broke through with a single by pinch hitter Will Olson to force the game into extra innings. Mavericks second baseman Christian Hollie led off with a triple and then scored the winning run five batters later when Culbreth missed his mark and the ball bounced to the backstop.

The bullpen’s failure to maintain the lead in the ninth went against the norm for the Longhorns. Prior to the game, Texas relievers combined for a 1.56 ERA with only 14 earned runs given up.

“I think tonight was more of a let down than trying too hard,” Garrido said.

The Longhorns return to Austin for a three-game series against Kansas State beginning Friday at 6 p.m. 

Sophomore slugger Tres Barrera had himself a game for the Longhorns in their home-opener. He went 5-for-6 with a three-run homer in a 14–2 win over UTSA.

Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

Junior outfielder Ben Johnson and sophomore first baseman Tres Barrera provided the fireworks for Texas’ home opener Tuesday night.

With the Longhorns up by only a run in the bottom of the seventh, Johnson drilled a single up the middle, which UTSA misplayed, allowing Johnson and all three base runners to score – increasing Texas’ lead to 7–2.

In the eighth inning, Barrera, last year’s home run derby champion, drilled a three-run home run to left field, and Texas won its 12th straight home opener, 14–2, over UTSA.

“I didn’t even think that ball was going out,” Barrera said of his home run.

Coming off a comeback win over Rice on Sunday, Texas seemed to have the upper hand. After freshman pitcher Connor Mayes opened the game with a quick 1-2-3 inning, senior right fielder Connor Shaw and junior shortstop C.J Hinojosa drilled singles, and Barrera followed suit to bring home Shaw and give the Longhorns a 1–0 lead.

Two innings later, Barrera and the Longhorns struck again. Hinojosa opened the inning with a four-pitch walk, followed by a Barrera double to score Hinojosa and double the Texas lead.

UTSA fought back in the fourth. After redshirt senior pitcher Ty Marlow hit senior catcher John Bormann in the head, Bormann advanced to second on a ground out, and freshman second baseman Skyler Valentine laced a single to left to score Bormann and get the Roadrunners on the board.

Following an RBI double by Johnson in the bottom of the fourth to stretch the Texas lead back to 3–1, UTSA came back in the top of the sixth. Junior shortstop Tyler Straub and sophomore designated hitter Mitchell Matulia drew back-to-back walks, and Valentine again drilled an RBI single to close the deficit to 3–2.

But Texas finally broke the game open in the bottom of the seventh. With the bases loaded and two outs, Johnson singled up the middle, only for junior center fielder Kevin Markham to let the ball go under his glove. As the ball continued rolling toward the wall, Johnson made back home without a play, upping the Longhorn lead to 7–2.

In the eighth, Barrera showed off his power, getting every bit of the pitch and sending it into the parking lot beyond left field for a three-run home run. The long ball sparked a six-run inning for the Longhorns, in which 12 batters came to the plate.

Barrera became the first Texas player since 2010 to record six RBIs, finishing the night going 5-for-6, including a double and a home run. Johnson ended the game 3-for-6 with three RBIs.

Texas returns to the field this weekend for a four-game series against Minnesota.

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Despite starting the weekend with a win over Rice, Texas put itself in jeopardy of dropping its opening series Sunday afternoon after the Owls swept Saturday’s doubleheader. 

Still, the Longhorns found a way to salvage the weekend – with a late-game rally, No. 6 Texas overcame a 3–0 deficit to defeat Rice, 4–3, in 10 innings at Rice’s Reckling Park on Sunday afternoon to split the series. 

The game began as a pitchers’ duel as Longhorns junior pitcher Chad Hollingsworth and Rice junior pitcher Austin Orewiler kept the game scoreless through four innings. But the Owls broke through in the bottom of the fifth, and the threat of losing the series magnified when Rice took a 3–0 lead.

In the seventh inning, however, the Longhorns battled back into the game, adding three runs to eventually send the game into extra innings. 

In the 10th inning, sophomore catcher Tres Barrera drew a two-out walk before redshirt freshman infielder Bret Boswell followed Barrera with a single up the middle. With a scoring threat on second base, Texas sent freshman designated hitter Michael McCann, who was 0–4 on the day, to the plate. McCann smacked an RBI double down the left-field line in the top of the 10th to give Texas a 4–3 lead.

In his first collegiate appearance, freshman pitcher Kyle Johnston was able to finish the game to give the Longhorns their second win of the season.

On Friday, to begin the series, Texas started off slow, but it overcame its 10–6 hit deficit. Senior pitcher Parker French only gave up one run in five innings of work, while senior right fielder Collin Shaw went 2–5 and hit the go-ahead, two-run double to propel the Longhorns to a 3–1 win.

In game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, sophomore pitcher Kacy Clemens struggled as he gave up eight runs on eight hits and made it through just three innings in his first collegiate start. Texas fought valiantly, getting to within one run of the lead twice, but Rice took the 10–9 win. Texas fell into a 5–0 deficit in the second game of the doubleheader. Barrera hit a two-run home run in seventh inning for Texas’ only points.

The Longhorns (2–2) will look to improve when they return to action Tuesday against UTSA (2–1) for their home opener.

Photo Credit: Mengwen Cao | Daily Texan Staff

There were high expectations for freshman catcher Tres Barrera coming in to the season. 

Head coach Augie Garrido slotted him into the four hole from the get-go. Barrera was behind the plate that first night while senior catcher Jacob Felts, who led the Longhorns to the College World Series in his freshman season, watched from the bench. 

“Augie had a lot of faith in me from the beginning,” Barrera said. 

But as the season began unfolding, expectations turned to frustration. The highly touted freshman was batting .128 just over a month ago. 

“I was [in the four hole] for a reason: RBIs and to bring guys in,” Barrera said. “At the beginning I was trying to do too much and that’s why I think I started slowly.” 

He had no multi-hit games in the first 15, and his average was the lowest on the team. Sophomore catcher Jeremy Montalbano and Felts began getting reps behind the plate, and all of a sudden, the catching job was up for grabs. 

“Of course it got into my head,” Barrera said. “But I took a step back and realized there were a lot of ball games left. Ever since then, things have been going my way.”

A three hit performance on March 11 against Texas State broke him out of that slump, and since that game, he has had nine multi-hit games while batting over .400. 

“Augie said he knew it was going to come,” Barrera said. 

Barrera’s power that Garrido talked about early on has also begun to rear its head. Barrera had just one extra-base hit in the first 15 games; in the next 21 games, he had 11.

But he is not just making a difference at the plate. He is making one behind it also. He is calling pitches for the a pitching staff that has a 2.12 ERA, which is fifth best in the country.

“It’s fun working with them,” Barrera said. “I study the hitters a lot before the games. They are all pretty confident in me.”

As Barrera’s bat started coming around, so did Texas (30-8, 9-3 Big 12), winning 17 of 21 games since March 11. The team has climbed all the way to No. 6 in the country.

“Winning: That’s all that matters to me,” Barrera said. 

Barrera heads into the TCU series this weekend with the team’s most doubles and its third best average and slugging percentage.

The opening game will be Thursday at 6 p.m. at home, as the weekend series was moved up a day for Easter Sunday. TCU (23-13, 7-5 Big 12) is third in the Big 12, two games back of Texas. It also sports a 2.69 ERA, second to Texas. 

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.”

Sophomore left fielder Ben Johnson has emerged as a legitimate power threat for the Longhorns’ offense and currently leads the team with three home runs on the season. He is also tied for second on the team with a .304 batting average.

Photo Credit: Jenna Von Hofe | Daily Texan Staff

When eighth-ranked Texas hosts Baylor this weekend, one team will shed its .500 conference record.

The Longhorns (23-7, 3-3 Big 12) will battle the Bears (15-13, 4-4 Big 12) in their first home games in almost two weeks — a span that saw them win three out of four games. Texas won two of three games against Texas Tech last weekend, pushing its conference record to .500 before it defeated Rice 5-2 on Tuesday night.

The offense continued to scorch opposing pitching away from home, scoring 25 runs in the past four games. Freshman catcher Tres Barrera has erupted in the last few games. He notched eight total hits in the last four games, including two three-hit games against the Red Raiders.

Barrera’s average has creeped up to .297, placing him just under the Longhorns’ top three hitters, who are all hitting over .300. Against Texas Tech, Barrera hit Texas’ seventh home run of the season.

Sophomore left fielder Ben Johnson continued his torrid pace against Tech, tallying two homers of his own that put his team-leading total at three for the season. Johnson has recorded at least one hit in each of Texas’ last eight games and is tied for second on the team with a .304 batting average. 

The Longhorns will face a Bears team this weekend that is coming off two wins against Incarnate World. Baylor has posted a combined batting average of just .226 this season and hasn’t scored more than seven runs in a game since March 18 against Houston Baptist.

Texas’ pitching staff still boasts a combined 1.98 ERA and holds its opponents to a combined .218 batting average, despite giving up eight runs in the second game of series against the Red Raiders. Baylor will be forced to rely on its starting rotation, which has carried the pitching staff with a combined ERA of 2.43 this season. 

Texas and Baylor both sit at .500 in the Big 12 heading into this weekend, with Texas primed to stake its claim as a conference force. 

Freshman catcher Tres Barrera continued his impressive season Tuesday evening with a 1-for-4 showing at the plate, which included a pair of RBIs. Texas continued its strong play by defeating No. 12 Rice in Houston. 

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

Freshman catcher Tres Barrera continued his hot streak as the No. 8 Longhorns took down No. 12 Rice 5-2 in Houston. Barrera led the Longhorns with two RBIs, while junior pitcher Lukas Schirladi, dubbed by head coach Augie Garrido as the “best Tuesday starter in college baseball,” kept Rice in check.

Schiraldi allowed five hits in 6.2 innings and surrendered both Rice runs.

As the theme has been of late, the Longhorns (23-7, 2-2 Big 12) jumped on top of their opponent in the first inning. After the first three hitters reached in the first before Barrera — who has raised his average from .129 to over .290 in less than a month — came up to the plate, it appeared as though the Longhorns could break it open early.

But Barrera, in one of his few bad at-bats in his recent tear, grounded into a double play to drive in a run but kill the threat of more.

Texas’ top of the order tacked another one on in the third with the help of poor defense from the Owls. After junior second baseman Brooks Marlow walked and advanced to third on an error off the bat of sophomore outfielder Ben Johnson, he gave Barrera another chance to drive in a run. Barrera did what he needed to, lofting a fly ball to center for a sacrifice fly to give Texas a 2-0 lead.

Rice (21-10) kept things close, though, with a two-out RBI single in the fifth to make it a one-run game. But Texas did what it has all season — come through in close games.

A big sixth inning gave the Longhorns a comfortable lead. Freshman third baseman Zane Gurwitz started the scoring with a sac fly. Then, with two outs, Marlow singled, and Johnson reached on error for the second time to load the bases for senior center fielder Mark Payton.

Payton, being patient, worked a walk to push the lead to 4-2 and give way to Barrera.

Barrera came through with yet another big hit, just as he did over the weekend against Texas Tech. He singled home Marlow to push the lead to 5-1.

Schiraldi yielded one more run in the seventh, but that was all the Owls got.

Sophomore reliever Travis Duke came on in relief and threw 1.2 scoreless innings before handing things over to freshman pitcher Morgan Cooper to close it out.

On the day, the Longhorns had 10 hits to the Owls’ seven. But it was two errors that doomed Rice. Rice’s pitching allowed only two earned runs but five total.

This is the second time Texas has beaten Rice this season in as many tries. The teams will face each other again next Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

It was an unlikely hero who helped the No. 12 Longhorns knock off No. 24 Texas Tech in the rubber match to end the conference series and losing streak at 12: senior designated hitter Madison Carter. Carter had only four at-bats on the year before the game but went 3-for-6 Sunday with the game-winning RBI in the top of the 12th to seal the win. 

While run-scoring had been at a premium for the Longhorns (22-7, 3-3 Big 12) earlier in the season, the bats came alive in Lubbock against the Red Raiders (22-9, 4-5 Big 12), who boast the conference’s second-best pitching staff.

Texas’ offense looked sluggish early on Friday, relying on junior second baseman Brooks Marlow to keep it in the game. Marlow’s first homer of the year tied the game at one before the Texas offense erupted in the fifth to break the game open at 5-1.

The Longhorns scored in every inning from there on out, piling it on the Red Raiders, 11-1.

Marlow went 4-6 with three extra base hits to spark the offense. Senior center fielder Mark Payton, freshman catcher Tres Barrera and junior right fielder Collin Shaw recorded two hits apiece as well. Barrera and Payton each had three RBIs.

On the mound, junior Parker French (4-2) went seven innings, allowing just six hits and one run, to lower his season ERA to 1.57.

In game two in Lubbock, junior Dillon Peters’ worst performance of the year doomed the Longhorns 8-4. Dillon’s ERA went up nearly a full run from 1.79 to 2.68.

Peters failed to get out of the fourth inning, giving up five earned runs while throwing three wild pitches.

Freshman Zane Gurwitz and Barrera did all they could to keep the Longhorns in it. Barrera, who was hitting just .128 on March 11, went 3-for-5 with his first career home run while Gurwitz went 4-for-4 from the nine hole to help set up the top of the lineup.

With the series tied 1-1, it came down to the rubber match to see whether the Longhorns would end their conference losing streak.

Riding the hot bats of sophomore left fielder Ben Johnson and Barrera, the Longhorns struck first Sunday on a Barrera RBI single in the first. Texas added another on Johnson’s home run in the third.

It appeared to be more than enough for senior pitcher Nathan Thornhill, who shut down the Red Raiders (22-9) in 5.1 innings.

But sophomore pitcher John Curtiss, who had won the closer role with 10.2 shutout innings on the season, blew the two-run lead in the ninth on a steal home and an RBI single. It was the first runs he’s allowed since returning from a surgery that sidelined him last season.

After two scoreless extra innings, the Longhorns finally came through on Carter’s two-run, two-out single. The Longhorns sealed the 5-2 win.

At 22-7, Texas is off to its best start in the first 26 games since opening 22-4 in 2005.

Freshman infielder Kacy Clemens bats against Dallas Baptist last week. Clemens, who is the son of former Longhorns' star Roger Clemens, is hitting .224 and has become a vital part of head coach Augie Garrido's team. 

Photo Credit: Sam Ortega | Daily Texan Staff

Despite the team-first approach of head coach Augie Garrido’s small-ball system, freshman infielder Kacy Clemens has already found a way to stand out.

Entering his first collegiate season, most of the focus was on Clemens’ name. As the son of Roger Clemens, former MLB all-star and Longhorn legend, expectations were very high, with the spotlight fixed on his every move.

While Clemens is just starting to find his rhythm at the plate, currently hitting .224 with just three RBIs through 25 games, his ability to do the small things has made him stand out in Garrido’s mind.

“He is another example of not bringing any fear into this game from that other game, and that is what ballplayers have to be able to do,” Garrido said after Clemens went hitless in the Kansas series two weeks ago. “Both [he and freshman catcher Tres Barrera] have power, if they can start to be consistent at the plate and be a little more aggressive, they can add another element to the team.”

After a slow start, Clemens’ hitting has shown great improvement as of late, especially his plate discipline after recording two hits and drawing three walks against Columbia last weekend. 

His work in the field, however, has been spectacular since opening day.

Clemens is currently sporting a .985 fielding percentage with just four errors at first base this season, where he sees more action than any other defender. His stellar defensive play seems to be rubbing off on his teammates too, as the Longhorns have committed just two errors over the course of their current four-game win streak.

Texas has recorded 29 runs on 42 hits during the win streak, and, if Clemens can get his bat going, the wins will continue. Clemens and the Longhorns will get their next chance to continue the hitting display against Texas State on Tuesday.

The Bobcats will travel to Austin from San Marcos face the Longhorns, sporting a respectable 15-8 record this season. Texas State is coming off of an impressive series with Western Kentucky, in which it won two of three games while scoring 21 combined runs.

But the Bobcats’ 3-4 record on the road and a 3.76 combined ERA plays strongly into what the Longhorns are doing well at the moment. Texas State can score plenty of runs, averaging just over five runs per contest, but bad pitching against a hot Texas lineup cannot happen.

The Longhorns are playing well in all facets of the game as of late, and, if Clemens and other young players can expedite the learning curve, the possibilities are endless for this Texas team.