Nathan Thornhill had no idea what he was doing.
The freshman pitcher was in the Texas locker room preparing for his first collegiate start Tuesday and asked veterans Taylor Jungmann and Cole Green what he should do to get ready.
“I didn’t know what to do with myself in the locker room because I’d never done it before,” Thornhill said.
Whatever they told him to do worked because Thornhill tossed five perfect innings during the Longhorns’ 8-0 win over Prairie View A&M. He struck out four en route to his second win of the season.
“He’s an impressive pitcher,” said Texas head coach Augie Garrido. “He has a lot of presence about him both on and off the field, so we weren’t surprised that he could handle it.”
It only took one inning for the Longhorns to give Thornhill and the rest of the pitching staff the required run support. Brandon Loy led off with a single and a stolen base, and Tant Shepherd brought him home two batters later with a ground-rule double. Texas scored at least once in all three innings where its leadoff man reached first base.
“We got guys on base early and we got guys in the middle of the lineup hitting the ball well, driving guys in,” Loy said. “If we can keep getting guys on base, getting guys in scoring position, things are going to work out for us, and that’s what happened tonight.”
Texas didn’t score again until the fourth inning, thanks to an adjustment on the offense. The Longhorns are used to pitchers throwing in the upper-80s, but the Panthers were stuck throwing fastballs in the low-80s.
“We made an important adjustment in the fourth inning with our bats,” Garrido said. “You started seeing the ball go up the middle and to the opposite field, and that’s when we started scoring
Shepherd walked to begin the fourth, and Weiss followed up with a single to right field. Paul Montalbano hit a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Shepherd, and Weiss stole consecutive bases that put him in position to score on Jonathan Walsh’s ground out to first base. The Longhorns stole four bases in the game, their second-highest tally on the season.
“A lot of pitchers pay attention to guys when they’re on base, but tonight they didn’t pay attention to us much, and we took advantage,” Loy said.
Texas added three runs in the fifth on Weiss’ two-RBI single and another sac fly from Paul Montalbano. Weiss and Montalbano combined for five assists and three putouts defensively, which contributed to holding the Panthers to only two hits. Garrido said his team made some costly defensive lapses during Sunday’s loss to Oklahoma but was pleased with its effort on Tuesday.
“There was none of that tonight — the defense was sharp,” Garrido said. “Our players had every opportunity to make the assumption that Prairie View A&M was not very good, and they didn’t