By Steve Lansdale
LONG BEACH, Calif. — The 2017 came to an end late Sunday night for the University of Texas baseball team as the Longhorns fell, 2-1, to Long Beach State in the Long Beach Regional. The loss ended David Pierce’s first season as the team’s head coach.
Long Beach State drew first blood in the first inning against Texas starter Nick Kennedy, who allowed both LBSU runs and suffered just his second loss in 10 decisions. The Dirtbags scored by virtue of a Kennedy wild pitch and a throwing error.
LBSU doubled its lead in the third inning and held the Longhorns without a single hit until UT outfielder Zane Gurwitz, who had half of the four Texas hits in the game, singled in the fourth inning. Texas got its only run when Bret Boswell singled and stole second, and then scored on a wild pitch.
The Longhorns ended the year with a record of 39-24, going 27-8 at home and 11-12 in games against other Big 12 teams. Gurwitz and Kacy Clemens each hit .305 to tie for the team lead, and Clemens also led the team in home runs, with 12, and runs batted in with 49. Outfielder Travis Jones pounded a team-leading 18 doubles and shared the team lead with shortstop David Hamilton with 14 stolen bases.
On the mound, Nolan Kingham led all Texas pitchers in victories after going 10-4 in 2017, while Morgan Cooper racked up a team-leading 110 strikeouts in just over 89 innings. Beau Ridgeway picked up 12 of the team’s 19 saves.