Two infield singles and a batter reached base on a strikeout.
Those were the only flaws in senior Ty Culbreth’s eight innings of work.
The stellar line was good enough for the lefty to earn a celebratory shaving cream pie to the face and the win in a 9-0 victory over the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday afternoon.
“Today was probably one of the best command days I’ve had,” Culbreth said. “I was able to work both sides of the plate with the fastball and I had all three pitches working for me.”
The junior had a no hitter going through six innings but it ended unceremoniously with one out in the seventh. Stanford second baseman Nico Hoerner tapped a high chopper up the middle, but a quick throw by shortstop Brett Boswell was not enough to nab the speeding Cardinal and preserve Culbreth’s gem.
After another dribbling infield hit to third, Culbreth re-gathered himself and blew a strikeout past the empty swing of sophomore Quinn Brodey to decisively snuff what was left of the Stanford offense.
“Focusing like that, and the mental game is a learned skill” head coach Augie Garrido said. “He seems to have captured it really well.”
The ever-stoic Culbreth’s 12-strikeout performance is the second gem in what has been a resurgent season for the lefty.
The senior struggled at times last season and ended the 2015 campaign with an unremarkable 3.95 era, but the lefty says that the new success has not come about as a part of any big change.
“I feel a lot more confident going out every day,” Culbreth said. “Telling myself every day these guys can’t beat me no matter who it is, just staying with the process we’ve talked about … just really sticking pitch to pitch, has helped a lot.”
Culbreth’s teammates have other explanations.
“His past two starts I’ve brought him coffee from my house, my coffee,” junior first baseman Tres Barrera said. “My coffee’s the one that’s giving him the fire.”
Barrera’s biggest contribution though, apart from the coffee, came in rather surprising fashion on the base paths.
The junior first baseman got the offensive onslaught rolling in the fourth inning with a single into the left field gap, then beat out a double play on a hit and run. The big, power-hitting Barrera then made history by swiping third for the first stolen base of his career.
That call, though, did not come from the head coach.
“He gave it to me,” Garrido said. “He likes to run the bases. Most slow guys do.”
That same inning Barrera showed that the stolen base was no fluke. With one out, sophomore left fielder Travis Jones dropped a perfect squeeze bunt punctuated by Barrera’s elusive slide to put Texas up 2-0.
After a pair of run scoring hits from Kody Clemens and Jake McKenzie, sophomore Bret Boswell put an exclamation point on the inning with a three run crush job over the right field wall to put Texas up 7-0 after four frames.
The Longhorns will send sophomore righty Connor Mayes to the hill at 12:30 pm on Sunday in hopes of a second straight series win.