HOUSTON, Texas — Texas starter Ty Madden tossed a complete-game two-hitter as the Longhorns edged by Houston, 1-0, in the first of a three-game series Friday night.
The victory is the No. 19 Longhorns' sixth in the last seven contests, and moves Texas to 6-4 on the season, while UH felt to 6-3.
Maybe it's something about facing teams with Cougar mascots: Madden (2-1), who said his performance against the BYU Cougars last Friday could be considered his best start in a Texas uniform, had an equally strong, if not stronger outing against the UH Cougars. The redshirt sophomore was untouchable, striking out 14 Houston batters while giving up two hits and only two walks.
Madden surrendered his chance to record a no-hitter against the first batter he faced, as Houston's leadoff hitter, center fielder Brandon Uhse, singled down the right field line on the third pitch of the game. Madden, a right-handed pitcher, quickly settled down after that, and did not allow a base runner past second base.
Houston's starter, righty Robert Gasser, looked just as good on the mound, firing seven scoreless innings. He struck out five and allowed just four hits and two walks as neither team generated much offense in the early innings.
UT's first hit did not come until the fourth inning, when third baseman Cam Williams doubled to left-center field with two outs.
The moment that changed the course of the game came in the top of the eighth with the Longhorns at the plate and Houston reliever Derrick Cherry on the mound. Center fielder Mike Antico doubled down the left field line on Cherry's second pitch of the game, putting a runner in scoring position with no outs. With both teams struggling to put runners on base, Texas head coach David Pierce went with a "small ball" strategy, instructing left fielder Douglas Hodo III to bunt and advance Antico to third. Right fielder Austin Todd walked one batter later but was caught stealing. Williams then drew a walk, and Cherry walked first baseman Zach Zubia on four straight balls in the following at-bat, loading the bases.
Shortstop Trey Faltine worked the count to 3-1 before he too was walked by Cherry, allowing Antico to trot home from third for the game's only run.
Cherry struck out three Texas batters in the ninth, but the damage was done, as Madden shut down Houston's second, third and fourth hitters in a three-up, three-down inning to close out the victory. Madden's final out came on a swinging strikeout by second baseman Brad Burckel.
With just four hits, Texas did not have many offensive stars, though Antico and Williams each had a double for the Horns' only extra-base hits of the night.
Game two from Houston is set for 2 p.m. Saturday. Tristan Stevens is scheduled to start for Texas against Houston's Ben Sears in a game that can be seen on ESPN+.