It only takes one. Thanks to an RBI single by Jeremy Motalbano in the seventh inning, the Texas baseball team beat Prairie View A&M 1-0 on Tuesday night at Disch-Falk.
“Every game’s a must win for us right now,” pitcher Josh Urban said. “We’re playing against the ball, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing we still have to put up runs, pitch, and make the outs. We’re just trying to win ball games.”
In a season where the team has had 19 games decided by one run or less, and has only won eight of those games, Texas baseball celebrated coming out on top.
"Any win helps the teams confidence," Montalbano said.
The Longhorns (23-20, 5-12 Big 12) who were coming off a being swept at Baylor over the weekend, have won eight of their 10 Tuesday night games. The team has struggled to have the momentum carry over to the weekend, where it has yet to win a Big 12 series. Despite the many disappointments so far this season, both the players and coach Augie Garrido feel that one win could turn the tides on the season.
“I’m really not that confused,” Garrido said on his team’s ability to produce runs. “I think it’s a matter of them getting their confidence, and we’ve been waiting for it, and it hasn’t happened. We’re running out of time for sure. The thing I’ve explained to the team is we’re one game behind, and one game from being in the [conference] tournament.”
In the bottom of the seventh Texas scored the first run of the game when Jeremy Montalbano batted in Jacob Felts with a single. With two outs in the seventh Felts got on base because of fielding error by Prairie View second baseman Andre Oliver. He then advanced to second on a Brooks Marlow single.
“Some of that had to do with the hustle of Felts after not getting hits earlier in the game,” Garrido said. “That little second baseman looked up just as he was catching the ball to see where Felts was and he was surprised to see him running so hard and wasn’t turning it into an automatic out, so that had something to do with why he bobbled the ball.”
Texas starting pitcher Josh Urban (1-0, 1.73 ERA) pitched five scoreless innings, in which he allowed five hits, and walked one.
“[Urban] has been very effective when he’s walked out there on Tuesdays, and very consistent,” Garrido said. “The only reason we didn’t let him go farther was to be able to use him in the weekend series.”
Freshman Travis Duke (3-0, 0.62 ERA) pitched sixth and seventh innings, allowing no runs, on three hits and recording three strikeouts. Ty Marlow and Corey Knebel pitched the eighth and ninth innings respectively, keeping the shutout intact.
Pitching just his second career start Prairie View A&M’s Stephen Lunsford pitched 6 ⅔ scoreless innings before the unearned run scored. Lunsford pitched the complete game for the loss, he allowed five hits, and struck out two.
Texas left six runners on base in the game, while the Panthers left a runner on base in every inning save for the ninth.
The Longhorns currently sit at the bottom of the Big 12 standings (ninth out of nine teams)with just two Big 12 series remaining, they play Kansas State at home this weekend, and then head to TCU in Fort Worth May 16th through 18th. In order to qualify for the conference tournament Texas will need to finish conference play standing 8th or better. Despite the steep hill to climb Urban said the players still believe they are a great team.
“We’re just going to keep battling and hope that things turn out the way we want,” Urban said.
Urban stressed that this team will not throw in the towel and surrender the season.
“You’re playing for the University of Texas,” Urban said. “Ever since you were a little kid you’ve always dreamed about it, and you’ve worked your ass off to get here. So you’re not going to throw in the towel now, and you’re going to keep on doing what you do.”
“We’re the University of Texas, we have too much pride to throw in the towel,” Montalbano said.