This may have been the opening series of the 2014 baseball season, but Mark Payton is already in midseason form.
The senior outfielder put on a hitting clinic, finishing the four-game series against Cal with nine hits and a .529 batting average. Payton scored three runs and drove in four in helping the Texas bats wake up in the final two games of the series.
After dropping the first two games and scoring just one run, the Longhorns erupted for 11 runs in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader and Sunday’s finale. Payton was the catalyst behind the offensive outburst. With Texas clinging to a 4-2 lead, Payton launched a two-run home run to seal the victory Saturday night. Payton singled and tripled to drive in two runs as the Longhorns cruised to a 5-0 win Sunday.
Payton’s performance overshadowed strong pitching from Dillon Peters, Lukas Schiraldi and Nathan Thornhill. The trio combined for 22 innings, allowing nine hits and one earned run. Thornhill was dominating on Sunday with eight shutout innings.
The weekend also was the collegiate debut for four highly-touted freshman. Kacy Clemens, Tres Barrera, Zane Gurwitz and Andy McGuire all saw significant playing time. Clemens had four hits for the weekend while Gurwitz hit his first home run. The results were mixed, but Augie Garrido has to be pleased with what he saw from the youngsters.
Next up is the home opener against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Feb. 18 at 6:00 PM CT.
This weekend’s Studs and Duds.
Friday – Cal 7, Texas 0
Mark Payton and CJ Hinojosa collect five of Texas’ eight hits.
Parker French with two errors, a wild pitch and a hit batter.
Kacy Clemens, Zane Gurwitz and Andy McGuire all had errors. Freshmen jitters?
Saturday – Cal 2, Texas 1 (Game 1)
Clemens finishes 3-4. Payton is 2-3 with a double. Dillon Peters allows one unearned run on five hits over seven innings (no decision).
Everyone not named Clemens or Payton as Texas manages just one run.
Saturday – Texas 6, Cal 2 (Game 2)
Lukas Schiraldi has a nice Longhorn debut – pitching seven innings while allowing one run on five hits to get the win. Payton homers to ice the game and McGuire drives in his first two runs as a Longhorn.
Barrera and Clemens combine to go 0-8 at the plate.
Sunday – Texas 5, Cal 0
Nathan Thornhill was en fuego. Eight shutout innings pitched. Gurwitz hits his first home run in a Texas uniform. Oh, and that guy Payton has two more hits to round out a magnificent weekend.
None. This was a complete team effort.