AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas came up big when they needed to, scoring seven of their eight runs with two outs in an 8-2 win over Kansas State on Easter at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
The No. 21 Longhorns hit .429, 6-for-14, with two outs coming off Saturday’s loss in which the Wildcats came back from a 5-2 deficit to beat Texas 6-5. The Longhorns pushed two runs across each in the first two innings, claiming a 4-1 lead early and holding it.
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After starting pitcher Charlie Hurley surrendered a run in the top of the first inning, his battery mate Garret Guillemette picked him up with a 2-run home run that smashed against the batter’s eye in dead center field. The blast came off his bat at 109 mph and was projected at 421 feet according to the program’s Trackman software, but Guillemette said he wasn’t so sure he got all of it.
“I was lucky to put a good swing on a slider and see it leave,” he said. “I don’t really hit dead-center homers, and I thought for sure it was caught, and then I heard a bang.”
Texas tacked on two more runs on an Eric Kennedy double in the second inning, scoring Jared Thomas and Tanner Carlson to give the Longhorns a 4-1 lead. Then, things got a little wild.
After Mitchell Daly hit a single in the bottom of the fourth, one of the team’s trainers went to check on him after he appeared to have some discomfort in his lower back. During that time, Texas head coach David Pierce was ejected for arguing with home plate umpire Jeff Henrichs. It seemed to come out of nowhere, but Pierce took issue with Henrichs telling Jared Thomas to get in the batter’s box to avoid an action clock violation. Pierce thought the trainer was still on the field with Daly, and Henrichs obviously disagreed.
After Thomas roped a double to put two runners in scoring position for Kennedy, the Longhorns’ leadoff hitter was called out looking at a pitch way off the plate by Henrichs. Kennedy turned around to have a word with Henrichs about the call and was told to hit the showers early. After the drama was over, Dylan Campbell hit a ground-rule double that hopped over the left-field wall into the Kansas State bullpen to give the Longhorns a 6-2 lead.
Assistant coach Steve Rodriguez took over after Pierce was tossed out of the game, and almost immediately after he assumed head coaching duties, Kennedy was ejected.
“In the competitive nature of sports, you’re going to get emotional about certain things and sometimes it gets the best of you,” Rodriguez said. “There’s nothing wrong with that in certain moments, and for us, I think it kind of fired us up and put our guys in a good spot.”
Porter Brown’s solo home run in the fifth inning was the lone run that didn’t come with two outs for the Longhorns, and then Thomas hit his second double of the game to score Carlson.
Charlie Hurley picked up the win on the mound for Texas after five innings pitched with three strikeouts and four walks. He struggled with command early but eventually settled in and got the Longhorns where they needed to be. DJ Burke pitched 3.2 innings of scoreless relief before Sam Walbrudge came in to record the final out of the game.
Campbell had three hits in five at-bats and also had a tremendous running catch in right field during the third inning. He covered a lot of ground headed toward the foul line and grabbed a Kaelan Culpepper fly ball off the top of his cleats for the second out of the inning. Brown, Daly and Thomas had two hits for the Longhorns.
The series with the Wildcats was originally scheduled for Thursday-Saturday to avoid playing on Easter and give the team a break before a short 2-game set with Texas State on Monday and Tuesday. With downpours all day Thursday in the Austin area, games were pushed back a day, and now the Longhorns get a little taste of what it’s like in the big leagues with five games in five days.
“The only time I’ve ever really done that was in summer ball, but it’s going to be fun with the boys because it’s baseball — it’s what we always do,” Guillemette said. “We’re really looking for Texas State. We’re going to play some good ball and we’re really excited.”
The Longhorns (23-10, 6-3 Big 12 Conference) play the Bobcats at 6 p.m. Monday in San Marcos before the return game at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.