Altercation fires up team in series finale leading to resounding win, 3-1 star

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Texas head coach Augie Garrido assembled his players along the right field line before Sunday’s game against Maryland. He wanted to ignite a spark in his team and make sure it didn’t come out sluggish like the day before, when the Longhorns lost 10-1 in the first game of a doubleheader.

However, Texas didn’t need a speech to get excited — an altercation after Saturday’s second game pitted the two dugouts against each other, and players had to be separated by coaches. That altercation fired the Longhorns up, and they carried the momentum they had from Saturday night’s comeback win to pound Maryland 16-0 on Sunday and take the series 3-1.

“We got fired up about it,” said freshman third baseman Erich Weiss of Saturday night’s scuffle. “We came out today trying to make a statement that they shouldn’t be doing that to our kind of coaches and our field.”

There was a different feel in the Longhorns’ dugout, as they wanted to keep the momentum going after a six-run first inning. The offense never let up and failed to score only in two of the eight innings it took the field.

“Everybody was up on the railing and trying to create a fire,” Weiss said. “That’s what contributed to our offense.”

Weiss made a statement all weekend with his offense. He hit 2-for-3 on Sunday with three runs and three RBI, and for the season, is hitting .818 with six runs and seven RBI.

“I just tried to do my part for the team, and it turned out to where I got a lot of hits,” Weiss said. “I’ll dwell on it, and think that this next week’s a new week and try to keep it going.”

Weiss isn’t the only freshman off to a hot start. Outfielder Mark Payton went 3-for-4 Sunday with three runs and two RBI.
“It’s a good feeling, but we both think we’re doing what’s right for the team,” Payton said. “Balls are definitely dropping for us right now, but they might not be in a little bit.”

If their offense does sputter, Weiss and Payton showed Sunday they can still be useful on defense. Payton laid out for a fly ball in the third inning, and Weiss recorded the final out of the game by diving for the ball and making a laser throw to first base.
“The play before that, I should’ve gotten that pop fly, so the coaches were kind of mad,” Weiss said. “So I was trying to get that to make up for it.”

Freshman catcher Jacob Felts had Sunday off but hit .500 with three RBI for the weekend. Garrido, who said the freshmen were playing the best ball on the team, remains unsurprised by their hot starts.

“I don’t like to get surprised by success,” Garrido said. “If we’re surprised by success, then maybe we stand in the way of it happening.”