From the perspective of raw numbers, Texas’ 7-0 win over Prairie View A&M inched the Longhorns (21–24) one game closer to .500.
But a closer examination of what ended up being a very strange game tells a few different stories.
Texas was held scoreless through five innings by the Panthers, who entered the game with the 297th worst RPI out of 300 teams and needed the help of six errors to score six runs against junior Panther starter Edgar Sanchez, whose fastball hovered around the 80 mph mark.
“It took a while to get the offensive side of it going, but that isn’t unusual,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “There’s a timing issue there, and it’s real. You start facing guys 88-95 every weekend, it kind of gets built in. You have that rhythm.”
Texas starter sophomore Connor Mayes helped maintain the scoreless stalemate until the sixth inning, when a healthy dose of help from the Panther defense gave Texas the first runs of the game.
A pair of errors by the right side of the infield scored sophomore catcher Michael Cantu and sophomore designated hitter Travis Jones to gift Texas a 2–0 lead.
“Their pitcher was absolutely remarkable,” Garrido said. “He never got flustered with the errors or the misplays. He just kept doing the same thing. He played with great poise and purpose and just kept using his stuff.”
The Longhorns got another cushion in a five-run eighth inning punctuated by a very strange play off the bat of Patrick Mathis. The sophomore right fielder sent a routine pop fly to center, but no one called for the ball. Once it dropped in for a hit, two Panther throwing errors allowed sophomore shortstop Joe Baker to come home and Mathis to reach third.
The inning finally ended when senior catcher James Barton, who served as the bullpen catcher all four years in his time at Texas, grounded out to short in his first career at bat.
“It was so much fun,” Barton said. “I was just smiling the whole time. It was an honor.”
Barton was unsuccessful in his quest to drive in a run but nevertheless returned to a dugout full of cheering teammates.
“When the crappiest job on the team is done to the best of someone’s ability, the level of respect they earn is from everyone,” Garrido said. “You’re batting third, so you want to bat fourth, so now you’re whining about that. Go out there and catch some of those bullpens.”
Barton finally got an at bat, but the senior knows his primary job is not over.
“We’ve still got a shot with a couple more regular season games, and we’ve got the Big 12 tournament to win,” Barton said. “Tomorrow it will be back at it trying to get the guys ready for that.”