The Texas Longhorns baseball team survived the Houston Regional to play another day. That day will be back in the friendly confines of UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Friday.
Texas beat Rice and took two of three from Texas A&M, including the regional-clinching 4-1 victory over the Aggies on Monday. By virtue of the Houston Cougars shocking LSU and winning the Baton Rouge Regional, Texas gets to host the Super Regional.
Before we look at the matchup between Texas and Houston (that’s a separate story), let’s look back at the Houston Regional and review the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Chad Hollingsworth goes right to the top of this list. Hollingsworth made his first start of the season in Monday’s game versus Texas A&M. All he did was pitch a complete game, giving up one unearned run on two hits. His performance was a much-needed shot in the arm for the team. Starter Dillon Peters is done for the season. Someone else will need to fill the void. Hollingsworth looks like a capable replacement.
CJ Hinojosa had a relatively quiet regular season. Nothing spectacular. In Houston, however, he came to life. Hinojosa finished the tournament hitting .462 with three runs scored and four RBI. The slick-fielding shortstop was a thorn in the Aggies’ side in all three games.
Mark Payton continued to do what he did all season – get on base. Payton scored a team-high four runs, and led the team in stolen bases with four.
Nathan Thornhill and Parker French set Texas up with outstanding pitching performances in games one and two. Thornhill worked seven innings of one run ball in the regional opener. Without Peters, Texas needed to win that first game. Thornhill came through. French followed Thornhill with an equally impressive effort. He threw 6.2 innings, and allowed just two runs as the Longhorns edged Rice in game two. The duo’s solid pitching meant Texas only needed one more win to advance to a Super Regional.
John Curtiss, Travis Duke and Morgan Cooper pitched as advertised throughout the regional. Texas is fortunate to have such depth in the bullpen.
Lukas Schiraldi had a chance to close out the regional. Instead, Schiraldi struggled to throw strikes and only lasted 3.1 innings. Texas would go on to lose the game and be forced to play the deciding game on Monday. Schiraldi will need to pitch better in the Super Regional against a potent Houston club.
Kacy Clemens is somewhere between good and bad. His defense was stellar. He has saved countless errors and runs all season with his defense. It continued in Houston. His bat, on the other hand, left much to be desired. Clemens had one hit in 11 at-bats.
Zane Gurwitz had four errors in the last two games.
Texas batters stranded 33 base runners in four games – 16 of those were in scoring position. The Longhorns will need to capitalize on these scoring chances since the team will be facing a Houston squad that scored 30 runs in five games. Texas scored 18 runs in its four games.