Texas Baseball: Pitching staff dominates Cal Poly in sweep

The pitching for Texas baseball was nothing short of brilliant in three straight shutout wins over Cal Poly at the Disch.

Cody Howard, Texas baseball
Cody Howard, Texas baseball / Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman /

No. 15 Texas baseball (6-1, 0-0 Big 12) continued the eight-game homestand to open the 2024 season last weekend with a three-game series sweep of the Cal Poly Mustangs. Texas's pitching stole the show over the weekend, shutting out Cal Poly in all three games at the Disch.

Ace right-hander and redshirt junior Lebarron Johnson Jr. shined in eight shutout innings on the mound in the series opener, which resulted in a 2-0 Texas victory on Feb. 23 against the Mustangs. Johnson only allowed two hits and two walks and struck out eight Cal Poly batters in the gem performance on Friday night at the Disch.

Lebarron Johnson Jr. spun a gem to kick off the weekend for No. 16 Texas baseball vs. Cal Poly

Johnson also reeled in his first victory of the 2024 campaign on Friday night. Every bit of his amazing eight-inning shutout performance was needed while the Texas bats took a while to wake up in the middle and late innings in the Feb. 23 win over the Mustangs.

The big 6-foot-8 senior right-hander Charlie Hurley gave the Longhorns another brilliant performance from their starter on the mound in Game 2 against Cal Poly. Hurley registered six shutout innings, allowing four hits, and one walk while striking out three batters on Feb. 24.

Texas's bats gave Hurley plenty of run support in the comfortable 6-0 win over the Mustangs on Saturday afternoon at the Disch.

Cody Howard tosses five shutout innings in his first career start for Texas on Sunday

Last but not least, redshirt sophomore right-hander Cody Howard rounded out the three-game shutout streak for Texas's starters in last weekend's sweep. Howard pitched five shutout innings, allowing seven hits, no walks and striking out three Cal Poly batters to get the victory in his first career start for the Longhorns.

Howard did a nice job of working out of a few potential jams, as Cal Poly stranded a handful of runners in scoring position in the series finale on Feb. 25. It also helped that all seven of the runners that got on base were single-base knocks against Howard on Sunday.

While Texas did get some late-inning run support to seal the 7-0 win over Cal Poly on Sunday, Howard didn't have much room to spare during his five innings on the mound. Howard left the game in the top of the sixth inning with just a 1-0 lead.

The bats didn't have the same spark last weekend against a tougher Cal Poly pitching staff as they did in the 20-run outburst against the Houston Christian Huskies at the Disch on Feb. 20.

Big-time outings from veteran arms Johnson and Hurley along with a stellar first career start from Howard gave the Longhorns exactly what they needed to pick up the bats during a couple of slow starts last weekend.

The bullpen was arguably even more impressive, allowing just four hits and notching one save over eight innings in a thoroughly dominant showing against the Mustangs.

Texas continues building momentum before their first big test of the season next weekend in the College Classic at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Head coach David Pierce and the Longhorns face two top-10 ranked opponents from the SEC in the College Classic next weekend, against the No. 3 LSU Tigers and No. 9 Vanderbilt Commodores.

Texas has one more tune-up game before the College Classic at the Disch on Feb. 27 against 2-2 St. John's (NY). First pitch between Texas and St. John's is 6:30 p.m. CT at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin on Feb. 27.

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