Texas Baseball: Lebarron Johnnson Jr. Shines in 2-0 Win Over Cal Poly

Texas baseball ace Lebarron Johnson Jr. went eight shutout innings to lead the Longhorns over Cal Poly on Friday night in Austin.

Texas pitcher Lebarron Johnson Jr. (57) pitches as the Longhorns play at UFCU Disch Falk
Texas pitcher Lebarron Johnson Jr. (57) pitches as the Longhorns play at UFCU Disch Falk / Mikala Compton/American-Statesman / USA

Redshirt junior right-hander Lebarron Johnson Jr. earned the Friday night starting role this offseason and has been lights out for Texas baseball to begin his 2024 campaign.

The Jacksonville, FL, native backed up his five-inning, six-strikeout, two-earned run win over San Diego last weekend with a gem of a performance on Friday night against the Cal Poly Mustangs.

Lebarron Johnson Jr. leads No. 16 Texas baseball past Cal Poly

Johnson Jr. went eight innings, allowing no runs, just two hits, and two walks while notching eight strikeouts. However, most impressive was LBJ's ability to hit his spots when needed. The Mustangs were 0-6 with runners in scoring position.

It was just the second time in his Texas baseball career that Johnson Jr. went at least eight innings in a start (the other, of course, was his brilliant complete game victory over Miami in Regionals last year).

The Big 12 Preseason Pitcher of the Year did his job Friday night, but unfortunately, the Texas offense could not give him much support.

Cal Poly's Jakob Wright pitched about as well as head coach Larry Lee could have asked for. The redshirt sophomore lefty went 5.1 innings, notching seven strikeouts while giving up just three hits. Wright commanded the zone well and was a tough matchup for a Longhorn lineup that featured four lefties.

Wright was a tough pitcher to get a read on, mixing arm slots, speeds, and locations very well. He opened his season last weekend with a 6.2-inning, one-run performance against Missouri. Texas fans can take solace in the fact that Wright is a high-level college starter.

The Horns were able to muster a fifth-inning run thanks to a two-out balk from Wright that allowed Dee Kennedy to advance to second base. After finding his way to third via a wild pitch, Kennedy scored the first run of the game after Jared Thomas knuckled an infield hit up the third base line.

The Longhorns were able to tack on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth via back-to-back doubles from Jared Thomas and Peyton Powell. The RBI was Powell's Big 12 leading 11th on the young season, and he and Thomas are a combined 20-41 (.488) with nine extra-base hits and 14 RBI through five games.

Gage Boehm (0-0, 6.75 ERA) came in to close the game for the Horns. It was the third appearance of the season for the 6-foot-5, 255-pound redshirt sophomore.

Boehm worked around a one-out single to pick up the first save of his Texas baseball career. The San Jacinto College transfer brings a solid fastball-slider combo to the mound and could very well factor in as a key bullpen contributor for the Horns as the season rolls along.

Important Game Notes:

  • Texas has won seven of the last nine games Lebarron Johnson Jr. has started, dating back to 2023.
  • Jared Thomas finished 2-4, upping his season average to .550.
  • Jack O’Dowd started at first base for the first time as a Longhorn.
  • The 6-7-8-9 hitters for the Horns finished 0-9.

The 4-1 (0-0 Big 12) Longhorns return to work at the Disch on Saturday afternoon against the Mustangs. The first pitch time between Texas and Cal Poly is set for 1:30 p.m. CT. Texas will send right-hander Charlie Hurley (0-0, 2.45) to the hill. Cal Poly's Steven Brooks (0-1, 2.57) will get the start for the Mustangs.

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