AUSTIN, Texas — The offense finally clicked for the Texas baseball team Thursday afternoon, as a cold, overcast day gave way to spectacular performance at the plate and a 12-6 win over BYU.
The game ended with Texas (2-3) on top, but the contest began with BYU making a statement. After being held to just three hits Wednesday night, the Cougars rattled off a four-run top of the first, highlighted by a three-run homer to right off the bat of designated hitter Jacob Wilk. That homer was the only hit Texas starter Justin Eckhardt gave up, but he was sent to the dugout after just two innings, with four earned runs, four walks and a wild pitch, along with one strikeout, on his stat line.
The Longhorns found a way to counter in the bottom of that opening inning, beginning with a single past the shortstop by left fielder Eric Kennedy. After consecutive errors by BYU starter Bryce Robison, Texas shortstop Trey Faltine knocked a single into right field, cutting into the lead as Kennedy scored from third. Third baseman Cam Williams, who has two home runs this season, demonstrated his good eye at the plate one batter later, drawing a walk. With two outs, Faltine on third, Williams on first and Tanner Witt at the plate, Robison again botched a pickoff attempt, allowing Faltine to sprint across the plate and Williams to move over to second.
Texas was just getting started. After a scoreless second for BYU, the Longhorns went to work in the bottom half of the inning, scoring four runs to take a commanding 6-4 lead. It began with first baseman Zach Zubia notching a hit in his first at-bat of the season, the first of five straight hits the Horns. Perhaps the biggest of those four came off the bat of center fielder Mike Antico, who ripped a double down the right field line with the bases loaded and no out, scoring all three runners, and making the Longhorn dugout go wild.
With that 5-4 advantage, the Horns never looked back, adding one more in the frame when Faltine lofted a long fly ball to center, allowing Antico to tag from third.
The Longhorn offense refused to let up, as Robison was pulled from the game with one out in the third after Douglas Hodo III placed a perfect bunt that allowed Witt to race home from third.
The fourth carried with the rhythm for Texas, with Faltine crossing the plate to put the Horns up, 8-5, on a sacrifice fly by catcher Silas Ardoin.
After the strong start, the Cougars had the opposite experience at the plate, with just five hits through the first six innings. By contrast, the seventh proved to be UT's most successful when it came to hitting, as the Longhorns put four runs on the board.
Every starter for Texas had at least one hit, with Zubia leading the way on a 3-for-4 afternoon. Antico had a team-best three runs batted in and went 2-for-5 as the team's leadoff hitter.
Palmer Wenzel (1-0), who picked up the win out of the bullpen after he gave up three hits and stuck out three in 3-1/3 scoreless innings of relief, said the 12 runs and 15 hits were merely an indication of the UT offense's potential.
Texas' 15 hits were the most by the program since an 18-hit showing against Texas Southern March 12, 2019. The last time the Horns scored 12 or more runs came March 23, 2019 in a 13-1 victory over TCU.
"Honestly, there’s a lot more in there," Wenzel said. "The hits were great today, and the runs were awesome, but they’ve got a lot more stored in there than what we showed today."
“To me, he’s been better the last two outings than he was in the fall, than he was in the early spring," Texas head coach David Pierce said. "That’s a good sign, because then you look up and say, 'this guy likes the competition. When something’s on the line, he wants the ball.'”
Game three of the series will be Friday with a first pitch at 6:30 in a game that will be carried on Longhorn Network.