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Sunday - February 27, 2011

Game 8: Texas at Hawaii

As expected, I missed out on most of the final Texas/Hawaii game. Texas won 4-3 in rather dramatic fashion and I caught up after the fact by reading through my Twitter feed. I already knew the verdict as I was reading so wasn't on pins and needles while I read. It was kind of fun "watching" other people who were on pins and needles as the action unfolded, though.

Sam Stafford got the start and recorded his first win as a Longhorn. It sounded like he pitched a pretty solid game. At one point he got into a bases-loaded nobody-out jam and then threw 3 strikeouts in-a-row to end the inning! Hoby Milner went in to close things out but got into a bit of trouble. With the tying run and winning runs at the corners and only one out, Keifer Nuncio came on and got the only batter he faced to line into a 1-3 double play. Whew!

Link to the TexasSports.com story: No. 6 Baseball wins series finale at Hawaii, 4-3.

Hmmm...the play-by-play on the TexasSports page says the game ended on an unassisted double play by the first baseman. That contradicts my Twitter feed and, more interestingly, their very own story (linked above). Who is right?

Even better, I checked out the play-by-play on Hawaii's page and it says the game ended on an unassisted double play by the pitcher!

The article in the Statesman (wire report) only says that Nuncio induced a game-ending line-drive double play. Ha!

The recap on Burnt Orange Nation also says the final play went 1-3. I'm tending to think that's the most likely scenario.

Ah-ha! In Roger Wallace's report for KXAN, a quote from Keifer Nuncio tells us he snagged a line drive and threw someone out so...1-3 it is!

The Horns will host Stanford beginning on Friday at 3. It's looking like I'll be missing that game. Oh well. I'll report what I can. Hook 'em!

Posted by Joanna at 11:54 PM | Permalink

Saturday - February 26, 2011

Game 7: Texas at Hawaii

Got to the hotel in time to listen to (what I thought would be) the final 3 innings of the game. Just in time to hear Texas score the first run of the game in the 7th. Yes! But, then...Hawaii tied things up in the bottom of the inning. Not so yes.

And then the Longhorns got to Hawaii's pitchers in the 8th to go up 4-1! And then Hawaii tied it up in the bottom of the 8th. Sigh...

And, with the game tied 4-4, things went into extra innings. All because I tuned in late? Hope not!

Things remained tied at 4-4 into the 14th when Erich Weiss reached on a 2-out triple! And was stranded there. That was not, by the way, the first time Texas got someone into scoring position in extra innings. It was just the most exciting time. The Rainbows also got a runner to 3b with 2 out in the bottom of the inning (runners at the corners in fact). But, he was also stranded there and the game went on.

The Horns went down in order in the 15th. Hawaii got a batter to 3b with one out (single, sac bunt, wild pitch) in the bottom of the inning. After striking out the batter at the plate, the runner from 3b scored on another wild pitch. Ack! Heart break. Texas lost 4-5.

Cole Green got the start and kept Hawaii at bay (and scoreless) for the first 6 innings of the game for a much-improved performance over his start last weekend. Corey Knebel, 5th pitcher of the night for Texas, ended up taking the loss...as he threw the final 3.2 innings of the game.

Rubber match tomorrow. I likely won't get to listen to any of that game. Will post what I can...when I can. Hook 'em!

Posted by Joanna at 11:36 PM | Permalink

Game 6: Texas at Hawaii

I watched the Hawaii "for pay" stream of tonight's game. The Horns won 2-0 behind another complete-game shut-out effort from Taylor Jungmann. Really nice.

The line...

Team 123 456 789 RHE
Texas 001 001 000 2 7 0
Hawaii 000 000 000 0 4 4

I did not keep score (so you get no play-by-play) but I did take a few notes. Jungmann had a perfect game going through the first 8 batters. He hit the 9th. He finally gave up a hit (a bunt single) in the 4th but then picked off the runner. He also gave up a single in the 5th and back-to-back 2-out singles in the 8th. And, that was it for Hawaii baserunners. Jungmann threw a really great game.

Texas scored their runs like so...

It seems unlikely that I will get to see the next two games. Sorry about that but that's how things go from time to time. Hope the Horns do well. Hook 'em!

Posted by Joanna at 2:03 AM | Permalink

Tuesday - February 22, 2011

Early summer ball news

Just saw that Erich Weiss and Corey Knebel will play summer ball in Wisconsin. (H/T Texas baseball twitter feed)

Posted by Joanna at 11:32 AM | Permalink

Monday - February 21, 2011

Game 5: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Texas

Alas, things did not go well for the Horns this afternoon. They ended up losing to the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders 7-8. The line:

Team 123 456 789 RHE
Islanders 211 021 100 8 11 1
Longhorns 002 003 200 7 6 0

The Horns could not get much of anything going offensively in the early part of the game...despite 6 free passes (5 walks and 1 hit batter) given up by the Islanders' starter (Justin Meza) in the first 5 innings. Along with all those free passes, Meza also struck out 7. It was kind of weird. We could feel something start to happen...the door would open just a bit and then...nope. Never mind. Take a seat. The Horns did manage to turn a lead-off walk and a triple in the 3rd into 2 runs but didn't really get to Meza until the 6th when 3 walks and a double turned into 3 runs scored. But, by that time, the Horns had already given up 7 runs to the Islanders. It was pitch-by-committee time at Disch-Falk today. They announced before the game that we'd likely see 7 or 8 pitchers and we did.

I don't think that strategy ever really works well for the Horns. I understand that the coaches want to see what the pitchers will do in "real world" situations but to me it feels like they don't really get a chance to get into a rhythm. The only Texas pitchers who failed to give up a run today were Andrew McKirahan and Stayton Thomas. McKirahan, though, left the game with runners at the corners and only one out. Thomas came on in that tough situation and got the first batter he faced to fly out to shallow cf and the 2nd grounded into a fielder's choice. He then threw a 1-2-3 9th. Very nice nice day for Thomas once again. But, not so great for the rest of the pitching staff.

The Horns made a couple of nice defensive plays in the field. Cohl Walla made a really nice running catch on a deep fly ball in the first. Paul Montalbano also made a nice catch as he was running straight back on a line drive to end the Islanders' half of the 3rd. In the 7th, Erich Weiss almost made a bad error as he bobbled a potential double play ball. He stayed with it, though, and got one out at 1b. Later in the inning, Brandon Loy snagged a ground ball deep in the hole at ss for the third out of the inning.

Erich Weiss update. He went 0-for-2 with a pair of walks, a sac bunt, a ground out to 2b, and his first strikeout of the year. Yep, he's human. I suspected as much. He was also caught stealing 2b...by quite a bit, alas, in the third.

Offensive highlights:

Jordan Etier got the first hit of the year for a Texas second baseman in the 8th inning when he reached on a 2-out double smoked down the lf line. It was a gorgeous hit. Montalbano and Loy followed that with back-to-balk walks and it looked like Texas just might tie things up and maybe even go ahead. But, Mark Payton (who'd singled and scored in the 7th) couldn't quite connect and flew out to left field. Oh, the agony.

After Thomas made quick work of the Islanders in the 9th, Walla reached second base on a 2-out 2-base throwing error but was stranded there when Tant Shepherd also flew out to left to end the game.

The Horns now travel to Hawaii for a 3-game series. I've got some family stuff going on this weekend and will be out of town most of the weekend. I will likely not get to listen to the games so may not have much to post here. I'll try to at least post scores and link to whatever the TexasSports.com folks post. But, things will likely be delayed.

Hook 'em, Horns!

Posted by Joanna at 11:57 PM | Permalink

Sunday - February 20, 2011

Game 4: Maryland at Texas

As I expected, the Horns did not mess around at all today. Hoby Milner got the start and took care of Maryland in the first inning with 4 (four!) pitches. The offense scored 6 in the bottom of the inning and that was all she wrote. The line:

[boxscore]

Erich Weiss proved himself human today by only going 2-for-3...with 2 walks, a sac fly, 3 runs scored, and 3 batted in. Not to mention a spectacular defensive play to end the game and preserve the shutout. P-shaw. Anybody can do that, right? Yikes! The guy had a phenomenal weekend. Like I said last night: it can't last. We all know it can't. But, geesh...so much fun. On the weekend his plate appearances went like so:

Took this shot of the scoreboard when he came up to bat in the 9th:

[Erich Weiss on the scoreboard]

Just look at his numbers there at the bottom of the board. Scary! How often do you see someone with a .900 batting average? I'm pretty sure I've never seen that before. I certainly don't remember ever seeing that before. It's crazy.

Mark Payton also showed some flash at the plate and in the field this afternoon. He went 3-for-4 with 2 doubles, 2 runs batted in, 3 runs scored, had a sac fly, was hit by a pitch, and struck out once. He made a beautiful diving catch in the 3rd to rob Jordan Hagel of a lead-off single. Purty.

Ah well...on to the details. The starting lineups for today's game...

I wasn't gonna do the whole play-by-play thing but...what the heck. There were lots of runs scored and you want to know how they were scored, right? Right. So, here you go...

Texas played a great game today. They were firing on all cylinders. It was really nice to see them do so well after they struggled so much yesterday. They now face Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at home on Tuesday afternoon before flying out to Hawaii for a bit of fun in the sun. Hook 'em, Horns!

Posted by Joanna at 11:47 PM | Permalink

A few photos

A few of my favorite photos from yesterday's action...

Brandon Loy, taking a lead off 2b:

[Brandon Loy]

Sam Stafford, at the end of his release:

[Sam Stafford]

I love how high his left foot is in the air!

Stayton Thomas, at the end of his release:

[Stayton Thomas]

A study in contrasts.

And, I'm off to Disch-Falk for the finale of this weekend's series against Maryland. Hook 'em, Horns!

[Hook 'em]

Posted by Joanna at 10:34 AM | Permalink

Saturday - February 19, 2011

Game 3: Maryland at Texas

Things didn't look so good as we went into the second game of the day but they got better:

[boxscore]

'Course...Maryland fans might not agree with my assessment of things improving. Well...frankly...they didn't really get all that much better. Texas did win but tempers flared. And, folks went away unhappy. It will be interesting to see how things play out tomorrow.

Starting lineups...

More mixing up of things by Coach Garrido. I was a little surprised to see Christian Summers start the second game against the lefty instead of the early game against a righty. After Kevin Lusson did a very nice job behind the plate in the first game of the day (gunned down a runner trying to steal 2b in the 3rd), I was surprised to see him at 3b. I rather expected Weiss to be there (as had already become "the usual" in the first two games of the season) with Lusson at dh if the coaches wanted him in the lineup. Weiss, by the way, finally failed to reach base for the first time in his Texas career when he grounded out to ss as the lead-off batter for Texas in the 2nd. He went on to hit 2 singles (1 rbi), draw a walk, and score a run. I can't see how he won't earn Big 12 Freshman of the week honors (assuming the league hands out such things...and maybe they don't). Obviously, there's no way he can keep this up. In his 11 plate appearances on the season, he's managed 7 hits, 3 walks, has batted in 4 runs, and scored 3 runs. That's just crazy. So, we know it won't last. But, it sure is fun to watch while it does.

Mark Payton and Jacob Felts are also acquitting themselves quite nicely as starting Freshmen this season. Payton went 0-fer in today's first game but came back with a couple of doubles in the second game. Sadly he was tagged out twice at home plate after each of those...the first time on a failed squeeze and the second when he probably should've been held up on a ball that did not get deep enough into cf as he ran in from 2b. Felts has reached base twice in each of his first three games and has knocked in 3 runs.

Ah well...back to the game at hand...

On the pitching side of things, Sam Stafford got the start. He went 5.2 innings but did not figure in the decision. Keifer Nuncio pitched 1.1 innings of relief and was replaced by Andrew McKirahan who threw 1.2 for the win. Stayton Thomas went in for the final out of the game and got his first save of the season. Which made me happy. It really looks like he's finally come into his own on the 40 Acres. Nice to see it happen.

The Horns trailed for most of the game and did not manage to tie things up and then take the lead until the 8th inning...when Maryland seemed to fall apart on the mound. Trailing 2-4 going into the 8th, Weiss led things off with a full-count walk. Lusson singled, moving Weiss to 3b. Cohl Walla was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Felts then popped out to the catcher, who made a really great play on a high-flying pop-up behind the plate. Tant Shepherd was then hit by a full-count pitch to push a run across. Paul Montalbano was announced as a pinch hitter and Maryland brought Korey Wacker in from cf to pitch. Stunningly, he hit Montalbano to drive in the tying run. Walla scored on a wild pitch and then Payton hit a ground-rule double down the lf line to score Shepherd and Montalbano. (Payton's ground-rule double bounced over the retaining wall onto the berm down the line. I still don't think there's been a ground-rule double bounce over the outfield fence since the new field turf was installed at Disch-Falk.) That 8th inning was ugly for Maryland. No two ways about it.

By the way, the 8th inning "collapse" followed a rather big mess in the bottom of the 7th. Jordan Etier (who'd gone in at 2b in the top of the inning) was at the plate with a 2-2 count. The next pitch was inside and he was awarded 1b. I knew the count and thought the ump had awarded him the base because he'd been grazed by the ball. But, nope. Apparently, the ump had lost track of the count and awarded him a base on balls. When the Maryland coach appealed, he got no satisfaction. None of the other officials were sure of the count and the coach had to let it go. He wasn't happy but what can you do? There is no instant replay in college baseball. Payton then hit a double down the rf line. As he was running to 2b, he collided with the second baseman who then missed the cut-off throw from rf. Etier scored on the bad throw and Payton was awarded 3b on the fielder's interference. The Maryland coach blew his top. First, Etier shouldn't have been on base in his opinion, and second, no interference. I saw the collision at 2b, though. It was interference. The coach argued the call and argued it. He would not give it up and was eventually ejected. So, the Maryland team was not happy. That very well may have contributed to the collapse in the 8th.

At the end of the game, when Coach Garrido and the other coaches walked over to the Maryland coaches for the customary hand-shake, one of the Maryland assistant coaches said something (we don't know what...nobody's saying anything specific) but it did not go down well with the Texas volunteer assistants and some very heated words were exchanged and a bit of shoving ensued. Both teams ran to the sides of their coaches but the teams and coaches were quickly separated. Coach Garrido and Coach Bakich (I'm guessing that's who Coach Garrido was talking to) seemed to settle things between themselves quickly while the rest of the squads went their separate ways. Afterwards, a bunch of idiot Texas fans started trying to get in on the action near the Maryland dugout. Luckily, the netting kept them on "our" side of the fence and I didn't see any signs of anything further after the game.

Like I said, it'll be interesting to see what happens tomorrow. I suspect Texas will take care of business and win the series. No messing around tomorrow. I don't think Maryland will have much to say about it on the field when it comes down to it...no matter how much they might want to beat Texas. We'll all see soon enough.

Posted by Joanna at 11:47 PM | Permalink

Game 2: Maryland at Texas

So...that was a confusing day.

First, the weather wasn't nearly as nice today as it was yesterday. It was overcast, damp, and chilly for much of the day.

Second, as I was waiting at a red light on the south-bound frontage road of I35, I heard this happen:

[wreck]

It sounded bad. And, it looked bad. And, I just felt bad for everyone involved. Ugh.

Third, this happened in the first game of the day:

[boxscore]

And, yeah...7 innings. On double-header days, the first game is scheduled for 7 innings and the second for 9. If the first game goes extra innings, the second game will be shortened to 7.

Starting lineups...

Texas mixed it up a bit. Not surprising to see them do this sort of thing early in the season so they can get a look at how the guys do in real-game situations.

Erich Weiss continued to shine. He went to the plate 3 times and got aboard each time (1 walk and 2 singles). He also scored the only run of the game for Texas. In the 2nd, he fouled off 5 pitches and then watched 4 balls to draw a 1-out walk. He moved to 2b on a single by Jacob Felts, moved to 3b on a fielder's choice hit by Kevin Lusson (seeing his first action of the year), and scored on a single by Tant Shepherd. Jordan Etier was called out on strikes (2-2 count) in the next at-bat and that opened a big ol' can of worms. The strike-out call was on a ball that was very high. Etier couldn't believe the call and asked the ump about it. As Coach Harmon walked past the plate toward the Texas dugout, it looked like he wasn't going to say anything (which surprised me no end because it was a particularly bad call) but then he did say something. And, continued on his way to the dugout without stopping. He apparently continued to say things, though, because he was quickly ejected from the game. He came back out and got in the ump's face and got his money's worth before grudgingly leaving the field.

Things continued to go badly and, in the top of the 5th, Coach Garrido was also ejected from the game as he argued a close call at home plate. I cannot remember a game when two Texas coaches were ejected.

Cole Green started and took the loss for Texas. He gave up a lead-off single and hit the second batter he faced before giving up a 3-run dinger to Tomo Delp that just cleared the lf fence near the 375 sign. Delp, by the way, had hit a towering ball on the first pitch he saw from Green down the lf line that was just foul. That was the longest hit ball I've seen since last spring. Green sat the next six guys down in order. He got into a bit of a jam in the 3rd but worked his way out of it without further damage but things kind of fell apart in the 5th. Brandon Loy was charged with 2 errors but I think one of them should probably have been charged to Jonathan Walsh in lf. Whatever. With the bases loaded (on back-to-back singles and a hit batter), Tomo Delp hit into what looked to be a relatively routine double play. The ball bounced off Loy's glove, though, and into shallow cf, plating two runs and leaving runners at the corners...and still no outs. Instead of 1 across and 2 out. Ouch. The Terrapins ended up scoring 5 runs in the inning (1 unearned) and Texas seemed completely out of sorts. Kirby Bellow, in relief of Green, gave up a couple of hits and a walk in that inning before Keifer Nuncio went in and shut things down. Nuncio threw a 1-2-3 inning in the 6th before giving way to Kendal Carrillo for the final inning. Carrillo got two quick outs but then gave up 2-0 double, a full-count walk, and a run-scoring single before getting one last ground-out.

I'm really not sure what to say about the loss other than to point out that the team just looked off from the get-go. And, the 7 innings they played in the first game took as long as the 9 innings they played last night. Not pretty. We could only hope that things would get better in the second game of the double header.

Posted by Joanna at 10:00 PM | Permalink

Friday - February 18, 2011

Game 1: Maryland at Texas

It was a gorgeous day for baseball at Disch-Falk Field this afternoon. Perfect opening day weather. Mostly sunny with a few scattered clouds. High of 80. Here's the first pitch...

[1st pitch]

See? Gorgeous. That first pitch was a strike, by the way. Set the tone of the day!

And, the Horns won...

[boxscore]

Starting lineups...

Outstanding performances of the day went to Taylor Jungmann and Erich Weiss. Jungmann threw a complete-game shutout. By my count, he faced 32 batters. He threw 95 pitches (70 for strikes), struck out 9 batters, walked 1, and gave up 5 hits. It was a thing of beauty. On opening day. Usually, I start getting nervous on opening day if the starter is kept in for much past 5 innings. But, the weather was perfect, the pace was quick (the game went just over 2 hours and 20 minutes), and Jungmann looked completely at ease the whole time. What a great start to his Junior season. Weiss (freshman from Brenham) went 3-for-3 with a triple, 2 singles, a walk, a run scored, and 3 runs batted in. And, he made a couple of stellar plays at 3b. What a great debut for him. I truly look forward to seeing more.

Here's Jungmann, about to throw a warm-up pitch:

[Taylor Jungmann]

All of my photos were pretty washed out today. Not sure why. But, it's too much work to get them into decent shape so that's it for photos today.

Another couple of random observations. The Horns made a couple of base-running mistakes. I'm hoping that's just early-season jitters that will quickly work themselves out of the players' systems. Defensively, the Horns were being very aggressive. Which I liked a lot. The aggressiveness did lead to a couple of errant throws but they managed to keep them from resulting in any runs for Maryland so...no harm, no foul. That works for me at any rate. Heh. But, really...it was nice to see the whole team really hustling on defense.

Anyway...here's how things played out...

What a great opening day. 'Hope the rest of the weekend goes as smoothly. Hook 'em!

Posted by Joanna at 11:23 PM | Permalink

Wednesday - February 16, 2011

Keith Moreland moving on

I just saw that Keith Moreland has been announced as the new Cubs color guy on WGN radio. Well damn. I mean...good for Keith! But, damn. What'll happen to us? My dad will not be happy to read this post. Sigh...

Update. Another link: Moreland knows the territory by David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune (h/t Texas Baseball twitter feed).

Posted by Joanna at 11:49 AM | Permalink

Tuesday - February 15, 2011

Ready for some baseball!

Just uploaded my 2011 schedule...and am ready for some baseball! It's hard to believe we're only a few days away. I'm really looking forward to it. I'll be posting as much as I can and tweeting from time to time during games...depending on how things are going. The weather for opening weekend looks pretty darned sweet. Especially considering how things were just a couple of weeks ago! Hope y'all make it out to Disch-Falk. But, if not, I'll do my best to keep you informed. Hook 'em!

Posted by Joanna at 9:25 PM | Permalink

Monday - February 14, 2011

Parking lot shuttle

Just saw this on the TexasSports.com site: Customer Relations Program shuttle in place for Baseball weekend games. Basically they'll be running shuttles (aka golf carts, I imagine) to the parking lots from the lf and main gates at Disch-Falk. I've seen them doing this to a limited extent in the past but this sounds like it'll be more organized...and official. Hope it works out.

Posted by Joanna at 11:22 PM | Permalink

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