Texas baseball defeats Sam Houston State, 15-9

10 Mar By
College World Series
First baseman Zach Zubia reached base after all five trips to the plate as the Texas baseball team rolled Sam Houston State, 15-9 (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas baseball team rode 16 hits and a four-run first inning to a 15-9 win over Sam Houston State Tuesday night at UCFU Disch-Falk Field.

Texas, which improved its record to 8-5 while SHSU fell to 3-6, had little trouble handling the Bearkats, as four different Longhorns had multiple hits.

Not one of SHSU's five different pitchers managed to retire Texas first baseman Zach Zubia, who reached base in all five plate appearances and went three-for-three with two doubles. Zubia was at the center of UT's quick start in the bottom of the first, scoring the Horns' third run after drawing a walk with two outs.

SHSU leadoff hitter Colton Cowser scored in the top of the first on a groundout to shortstop Trey Faltine, but the Longhorns countered soon after, beginning with center fielder Mike Antico's heads-up baserunning.

Antico reached base on a fielder's choice with one out and right fielder Austin Todd on first, before stealing second and advancing to third on Bearkats' starter Cole Wesneski's wild pitch. Wesneski's second wild pitch of the inning allowed Antico to race home from third, tying the score at 1-1. Ivan Melendez demonstrated an excellent piece of two-out hitting three batters later, singling up the middle to score Zubia from third and catcher Silas Ardoin from second. The 3-1 advantage became 4-1 in the next at-bat, as third baseman Cam Williams doubled down the right field line, scoring Faltine.

In the second, it was Antico again, this time scoring from second after stealing his second base of the night on a double by Zubia. Though the 5-1 lead seemed to seal the midweek victory for the Longhorns, SHSU was far from done, scoring Cowser in the third on a base hit off the bat of left fielder Jack Rodgers.

Texas scored three in the fourth and two in the fifth, taking a commanding 10-2 advantage as the crowd seemed to head for the exits early. The Bearkats unleashed one last charge at taking the lead in the sixth inning, however, pushing seven runs across. Eleven batters stepped to the plate in the top of the frame, as a fielding error by Texas second baseman Mitchell Daly began the scoring outburst. Runners scored from second and third on the error, which came on the fourth pitch of reliever Drew Shifflet's outing. A three-run homer from Mason Schultz followed, cutting UT's lead to 10-7. SHSU tacked on two additional runs off reliever Tanner Witt before the Longhorns recorded the first out of the inning.

Leading by just one, Daly made up for his error with an RBI single to score Faltine in the bottom of the inning, giving Texas a much-needed insurance run. Four more runs would cross the plate for Texas in the seventh on three doubles, as the Horns closed out the victory.

As is the case in an offensive shootout, pitching lacked for both sides, with right-handed starter Pete Hansen (1-0) earning his first win of the season, allowing two earned runs and four hits in four innings of work. Four relievers took the mound for the Longhorns, three of whom gave up at least one earned run. Lucas Gordon closed out the contest, tossing two scoreless frames with three strikeouts and just one hit allowed.

Texas hosts No. 11 South Carolina (10-0) in a three-game set this coming weekend.

Riley Zayas is a high school sophomore and freelance journalist from Round Rock, Texas. He began his journalism career as a Sports Illustrated Kids reporter and has since become a regular contributor to Horns Illustrated, covering Texas Longhorn sports. His work also includes Fellowship of Christian Athletes publications, College Baseball Nation and Sports Spectrum, a national christian sports website. He currently serves as the Managing Editor of True To The Cru, covering UMHB athletics. Twitter: @ZayasRiley