Zane Gurwitz

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

If fans worried that the Longhorns’ outburst of runs at Kansas this past weekend might not carry over to Austin, those fears were put to rest quickly Tuesday night.

Texas batters lashed out eight hits and scored five runs in the first three innings, including the team’s first home run at home in almost a month, in a 7–3 win over Texas State.

After giving up two runs in the top of the first, the Longhorns immediately responded in the bottom half of the inning by getting the first three batters on base, none of which came on a hit. Freshman first baseman Michael Cantu followed that up with a double-play grounder that brought in a run. 

“All of us as coaches saw a good carry over from the Sunday game into this game,” head coach Augie Garrido said.

Sophomore first baseman Tres Barrera tied the game when the Texas State center fielder whiffed on a catch, allowing a run to come across and Barrera to scamper all the way to third. Freshman third baseman Bret Boswell drew a bases-loaded walk later in the inning to give Texas the lead.

Two innings later, sophomore center fielder Zane Gurwitz lined a shot off the left-field foul pole for a two-run homer to give the Longhorns a 5–2 lead. The blast was the first Texas home run at UFCU Disch-Falk Field since senior right fielder Collin Shaw hit a two-run home run against Kansas State on March 22.

Gurwitz, who had six hits and three RBIs in the series against Kansas, said keeping the game simple is what ultimately led to the team’s success.

“It’s been working — just keeping the game simple and bringing it back to the basics,” Gurwitz said. “If you make it too hard on yourself, it’s going to eat you up.”

Boswell added a two-run home run, his first collegiate four-bagger, in the eighth inning to up the lead to 7–3.

Sophomore starting pitcher Josh Sawyer, who has been up and down this season since being dropped from the weekend rotation, struggled early in the game. He threw 29 pitches, giving up two runs on a double to left and a single up the middle.

But Sawyer settled in after that, retiring the next 11 batters and finishing the night with four strikeouts in five innings of work — the most innings he’s thrown since March 8 at Stanford.

“I was leaning forward, so [associate head coach Skip Johnson] said, ‘Just stop when you get down to the bottom — and then go forward,’” Sawyer said.

The win is Texas’ second victory over Texas State this season. The Longhorns defeated the Bobcats 6–4 in San Marcos on March 24. The two will meet again May 5 in Texas’ last regular-season home game.

The Longhorns resume conference play with a crucial series at TCU beginning Friday.

Texas knocked off Rice 3-2 in 11 innings to remain undefeated in the Houston Regional on Saturday.

Both teams went down in order in the first inning, but the Longhorns threatened in the first. Freshman catch Tres Barrera reached first and advanced to second on an error, but was out at third base after a failed bunt by senior designated hitter Madison Carter.  Carter advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt, but the Texas hitters were unable to drive him home.

The Owls scored one in the bottom of the first on two hits, but left two on base as junior pitcher Parker French managed to pitch Texas out of a jam.

The Longhorns answered the Owls in the sixth inning, but running errors prevented them from taking control. Sophomore leftfielder Ben Johnson started off the inning with an infield single but he was subsequently picked off by Rice’s ace Blake Fox. That first out was followed by a double by senior centerfielder Mark Payton, that probably would’ve scored Johnson, but extended Payton’s on-base streak to 97 games. Barrera drove Payton home on a double of his own but Texas failed to produce another run.

Rice answered with a run of their own, thanks to a single, a sacrifice bunt and a double that gave them a 2-1 lead.

Texas had an opportunity to tie the game in the seventh inning after freshman third baseman Zane Gurwitz reached on a single.  Gurwitz advanced to second on a wild pitch that was right in front of the catcher, but was thrown out at third after being too aggressive. Junior second baseman Brooks Marlow followed with a single that would’ve scored Gurwitz.  Rice rattled off two hits in the bottom of their inning, but junior leftfielder Collin Shaw gunned out the Rice runner at third to relieve the threat.

The Longhorns tied the game in the eighth inning with a Payton double and Barrera single that put runners on the corners with no outs. After Carter struck out, sophomore shortstop CJ Hinojosa drove home Payton on a sacrifice fly that was hit just deep enough to score the run.

Texas nearly scored in the ninth inning after, Marlow pounded a ball that just missed leaving the park, but he was stranded at second.

Texas led off the 11th inning with a double by Gurwitz, which was followed by a Marlow single driving in the run.  Marlow tied a career-high with four hits in the contest.  The Longhorns retired the side in the bottom half of the inning to earn the win.

Junior pitcher Parker French pitched a gem, throwing six and two thirds innings of six hit baseball, allowing two runs. Sophomore closer John Curtiss threw four perfect innings to get the win. 

Texas now waits the winner of the Texas A&M and Rice elimination game. The Longhorns will play at 7 PM tonight.

The series finale didn’t go well for No. 22 Texas as junior starter Lukas Schiraldi and the Texas pitchers struggled Sunday afternoon in an 11-5 loss to No. 25 Stanford. In just two innings of work, Schiraldi (1-1) surrendered four hits, four walks and five earned runs.

“He appeared to be out of rhythm,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “When you’re trying to find a rhythm, you struggle.”

Stanford got the scoring going in the second inning on a one-out suicide-squeeze, barely beating the tag of freshman catcher Tres Barrera. But the real damage came with two outs. After another Schiraldi walk, the bases were loaded for left fielder Wayne Taylor, who promptly cleared them with a triple to the 405-foot marker in the right-center gap to give Stanford a 4-0 lead.

“We lost the momentum in the first part of the game,” Garrido said. “It makes the rest of the game more stressful, feeling like you have to be perfect.”

The next inning didn’t go much better for Schiraldi. After back-to-back singles to start the inning, Schiraldi’s night was done as Texas went to the pen with sophomore lefty Travis Duke.

With one out and the bases juiced it looked as though Duke was going to get out of the jam. The crowd thought Duke had a strikeout, but the first base umpire called a balk before the pitch, sending Garrido sprinting from the dugout.

“I want the players to know I will fight for them,” Garrido, who was tossed on that play, said.

While the Cardinal offense put up five quick runs, the Texas offense struggled early on against the six-foot-nine, hard throwing freshman, Chris Viall (2-0). Through four innings, Texas (5-3) recorded just two hits. But the offense came alive in the fifth, sparked by a one-out triple by sophomore left-fielder Ben Johnson. Freshman right fielder Zane Gurwitz then singled him home to open up the scoring for Texas. Two straight walks loaded the bases for Texas’ three and four hitters with one out, but Texas was unable to capitalize.

Stanford (3-4) came right back out in the top of the sixth and blew the game open. On two consecutive pitches off sophomore reliever Ty Culbreth, Stanford hit a two-run double and two-run homer to extend the lead to 10-1 and send fans to the exits.

“Both teams played almost the same game,” Garrido said. “The difference was a bases loaded triple and that two-run homerun. They got the timely hits and we didn’t sustain the rally.”

Texas kept battling, putting four runs on the board in the sixth behind two more RBI’s from Gurwitz, but it was too little, too late as the slow-paced game was called for time after eight innings.

Payton went 1-for-1 on the day with three walks, continuing his hot streak. In the weekend series, Payton finished with a .800 average for the series with five walks. The Longhorns will have a day off before UT-Pan American comes to Austin Tuesday.

“Tuesday is going to be another day,” Payton said.