Junior pitcher Josh Sawyer threw four innings of no-hit ball. “Augie Ball” made a return to Disch-Falk Field to the tune of four runs.
In the end, the Longhorns walked off the field as 4-0 winners. But that score didn’t matter on this day.
Instead, Saturday afternoon was about celebrating Texas baseball’s past and giving the current Longhorns a history lesson with the annual alumni game.
“One of the things they learn is more about the tradition of the school,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “Getting into conversations around the batting cages from the players, it gives [the current team] a sense of confidence and a sense of belonging and some excitement about the journey that’s out in front of them.”
Major leaguers like Drew Stubbs and Cameron Rupp took to the field for the alumni team, while minor leaguers Ben Johnson and Brooks Marlow returned to Austin for the first time as visitors.
But it was the current Longhorns who stole the show.
Facing off against professionals boosted the Longhorns’ aggressiveness and provided the young Texas team with some exciting moments against professional level competition. The fun started in the first at bat of the game when Sawyer struck out Stubbs, a former Texas Ranger and former Longhorn co-MVP who has been working out with the Texas team throughout the offseason.
“I should have had him in the second [at bat] too,” Sawyer said. “It’s always fun going out there with those guys.”
At the plate, the Longhorns returned to the small-ball play that Garrido favors. Texas’ first three runs came on balls that failed to get out of the infield.
The game also allowed a newcomer with family ties to the program to burst onto the scene for the Longhorns.
Freshman infielder Kody Clemens, whose father Roger pitched for the Longhorn team that won the 1983 College World Series before embarking upon a Major League career, showed potential with a 2-for-4 day with a run scored and an RBI.
The newcomer showed off his speed on a ringing double into the left field gap, and got the chance to join his brother, junior first baseman Kacy Clemens.
“It’s awesome just to be around him all the time,” Kody said. “I look up to him. He’s my brother and he teaches me a bunch of stuff about the game.”
The Longhorns open up the season with a three-game series against UNLV beginning Feb. 19. Garrido said the emphasis leading up to the start of the season will be on getting runs across the plate.
“Over the next ten days of practice we want to put an emphasis on offense and run scoring,” Garrido said. “[We want to] find more ways to get bases that lead to runs.”