Kyle Russell’s homer was his second of the game – his third two-home run game in four games. It’s clear Russell his doing his job offensively, but how about his teammates?
“I don’t think of it on an individual basis,” Russell said. “I just do what I need to do and get some hits for my team.”
Starting pitcher Kenn Kasparek, who was saddled with the loss, threw for three scoreless innings before he let things get away from him in the fourth. He gave up three runs and four hits in the one inning. Austin Wood and Pat McCrory followed up with two innings apiece before Brandon Belt sewed up the last inning.
“I felt great the whole day…as good as I have since I was a freshman,” the junior said. Kasparek spent the 2007 season keeping stats behind the backstop as he recovered from elbow surgery. This was his ninth start of the season.
“They just got a couple of 0-2 hits and started rallying,” he said.
Russell tried to set the Longhorn bats in motion with his first home run – a fifth-inning two-strike shot that cleared the right field wall – but Kyle Lusson and third baseman Travis Tucker’s fly outs ended the inning before Texas’ bats could warm up.
In the eighth inning, a single up the middle by Maverick center fielder Michael Choice knocked in UT Arlington’s fourth run and caused the Horns to go into the bottom of the eighth with a three run disadvantage.
A double by Jordan Danks followed by a sacrifice by DH Preston Clark put him in scoring position with two outs. Tant Shepherd took care of that quickly with a shallow single to left center field that gave him an RBI. The Longhorns’ first rally attempt of the night fizzled with a fly out by catcher Cameron Rupp to center field.
“A lot of the times we hit the ball hard and but just can’t find a hole,” second baseman Michael Torres said. “We play good defense, get good pitching, but we just can’t score the runs.”
Texas’ final chance for redemption came in the bottom of the ninth when Russell’s homer brought the Horns within one run with no outs. Unfortunately for the Horns, as is becoming a trend, it was not to be had. Texas’ next three batters hit consecutive ground outs, with Emsley-Pai’s to second base, David Hernandez to third and Belt with the same.
“It’s all in there. We can do it, we just haven’t,” Texas head Coach Augie Garrido said, referring to the teams inability to come back late in the game.
UT-Arlington freshman Marc Picca got his first career win and gave up only one run and three hits in six innings.
“[Picca] did a really good job,” said Garrido. “This was his game…he threw strikes and forced us to put the ball in play.”
“It was a good win and we really needed it,” said UT Arlington head Coach Darin Thomas. “We didn’t do well last year and have had a bad start this year.”
Torres went 1-for-3, good enough to extend his hit streak to 23 and put him one game away from trying a 1974 hit-streak record by Rick Bradley
The Longhorns return to conference play this weekend with a three-game series against Oklahoma State University at Disch-Falk Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Friday.