It was not hard to find the silver lining despite the sporadic rain during Saturday’s game.
A second-straight offensive outburst as well as a complete game by senior Ty Culbreth gave Texas a 12-2 seven-inning run-rule win over the visiting Kansas Jayhawks.
“We’re winning more pitches and we won more innings in the last two days than we have in the past,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “It’s a strong step in the right direction.”
For the second night in a row, the offense got out to a torrid start.
Garrido’s signature recipe of ‘get the leadoff man on, bunt him over, and then get an RBI single’ worked flawlessly in the opening inning with junior first baseman Kacy Clemens driving in sophomore leadoff hitter Travis Jones. A wild pitch and an RBI single by junior second baseman Zane Gurwitz gave the club a 3-0 lead after one.
After that came the deluge.
With the rain coming down in the third inning, the Longhorns got the leadoff man on again with a Kacy Clemens double to left center, but Garrido had no need for small-ball to score any more runs. After a Patrick Mathis walk put runners at first and second, two wild pitches and a passed ball scored another pair.
Another passed ball and a safety squeeze by freshman Tyler Rand gave Texas two more runs and a commanding 7-1 lead after three.
Texas southpaw Ty Culbreth, though, had no problem with the adverse weather. The senior cruised through the first five innings of work, giving up just two runs on a groundout and an RBI single.
“I got actually pretty lucky throughout the game,” Culbreth said. “I felt like every time they went to pitch the rain, you know, kind of picked up a little bit and every time I went out there it kind of stopped.”
But in the sixth inning, down 11-2, Kansas loaded the bases with no outs.
Culbreth though was not fazed. The senior induced a 1-2-3 double play and grounder to short to escape the jam.
“There’s the experience of someone that’s been around for a while,” Garrido said. “[Culbreth] didn’t overreact or panic [on the double play] … and it looked about as routine and it can be. We haven’t always shown that kind of experience.”
The runs saved paid off in a big way.
In the next inning, four Longhorn walks pushed another run across to give Texas a 12-2 lead and activate the 10-run mercy rule for the team’s fourth win in its last six conference games and its third conference series win of the season.
“Things are slowly starting to click a little better for us,” Culbreth said. “What would have been foul balls are now turning into fair balls. Diving catches are being made. Little things that you just kind of overlook are starting to go our way.”