A four-run fourth inning propelled the Texas Longhorns to a 6-2 win over the UTSA Roadrunners at a rainy, cold Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday evening to keep the Longhorns undefeated on the young season.
It wasn’t a top-notch performance by Texas, but the Horns came through with enough clutch hits and the bullpen went five scoreless innings for the win.
The Texas bats struggled to start the game against UTSA right-hander Pepper Jones, who only gave up a bunt single during his 3.2 innings, but was charged with an earned run when the subsequent pitcher allowed an inherited runner to score. Despite only throwing a fastball that sat at 88-89 miles per hour, Jones was able to consistently generate swings and misses due to his deceptive delivery and ability to locate pitches, striking out five Texas batters.
When Jones left the game, Texas took advantage — shortstop Trey Faltine scored center fielder Duke Ellis from third when he singled through the right side to score the first run and cut the UTSA lead in half.
Then the Horns took advantage of a Roadrunners outfield that was playing remarkably shallow with the wind blowing in from left field. First, catcher Silas Ardoin hit a double over the right fielder with the bases loaded scored two runs. After drawing three walks in his debut against Rice, Ardoin flashed his bat against UTSA, adding a single and a run in the game.
Pinch hitting for Murphy Stehly, Cam Williams then sliced a ball past the diving left fielder to score two more runs before he was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple.
On the mound, right-hander Cole Quintanilla struggled with his command in his first career start for the Longhorns. Two singles and an eight-pitch walk loaded the bases before he recorded his first out and UTSA scored the first run of the game with a fielder’s choice. Quintanilla settled in, however, striking out the final two batters of the inning to limit the damage.
The Roadrunners added another run in the fourth inning when Taylor Barber stole second after reaching on a fielder’s choice. When the throw from Ardoin went into the outfield, right fielder Austin Todd tried to throw Barber out at third, but airmailed the throw into the netting above the visitor’s dugout to allow Barber to score.
Quintanilla pitched 4.0 innings, allowing two runs on four hits, walking two and striking out five thanks to a sharp slider that looked like a fastball coming out of his hand. In relief, right-hander Tristan Stevens picked up the win in his two innings and left-hander Pete Hansen went the final three innings. Hansen allowed three hits in his three innings, but kept UTSA off the board by striking out four batters.
The pitchers got some help from Faltine, who flashed some impressive glove work at shortstop, ranging past second base to make one play and then showing off his range and strong arm on two plays deep in the hole.
Texas struggled at the position in 2019 after two excellent years from David Hamilton, but Faltine provided some evidence that he’s a long-term solution there defensively.
It was also notable that first baseman Zach Zubia, who wasn’t good enough with his glove to get on the field when he arrived at Texas, handled a number of throws in the dirt and looked flexible stretching for throws.
Texas is back in action on Wednesday against Lamar with first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m. Central on Longhorn Network.
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