They were just needed on a personal level.
No Longhorn was in search of a big day like Clark, the starting catcher, and he found one Friday in Texas’ 10-3 victory over Kansas State at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
Clark went 3 for 3 with two RBIs, including a home run in the fifth inning that gave Texas a 2-0 lead.
“This feels great. I really needed this,” said Clark, who entered the game hitting .273 after a slump ate away at his formerly .400-plus average. “The past month has been difficult. I really didn’t feel comfortable with my swing, and I was thinking a lot at the plate.”
Goodbye struggles. Goodbye slump.
“I knew he was ready to break out,” Texas coach Augie Garrido said. “It was just a matter of time.”
Clark and Bradley Suttle, whose three-run homer in the fifth inning gave the Horns a 6-0 lead, provided plenty of offense for starter James Russell (5-2), who gave up five hits and three runs, all scored in the ninth inning.
Russell had faced just 26 batters heading into the ninth inning, getting five strikeouts in the process. “If you hit your spots in the early innings, it’s easier to get them to chase pitches later on in the game,” he said.
He had help when the Wildcats (17-5, 0-1 Big 12) did make contact.
Right fielder Kyle Russell made a couple of great plays, including a diving catch in the sixth inning, and every time the Wildcats hit a ball hard, a Longhorn was there to catch it.
“They go get the ball,” Kansas State coach Brad Hill said of the Texas outfielders. “It’s not easy to get a hit. If the ball’s in the air, they’re going to get to it. We’re going to have to hit the ball a little lower and a little farther.”
It’s been that way all season.
“I think you are going to see that all year,” said Garrido, whose team will go for its ninth straight victory today at 2 p.m. against Kansas State. “There aren’t going to be many teams who are more athletic than us.”
Texas, on the other hand, didn’t struggle to get hits.
The Longhorns (21-7, 4-0) pounded out 12 hits and have reached double-digit totals in hits 18 times this season. It was ninth time the team scored 10 or more runs.
Kyle Russell hit his 14th home run — a two-run blast in the seventh — to tie the school record for home runs hit in a season by a sophomore.
Suttle had two hits.
But Clark’s hits show everybody in the lineup is swinging the bat well.
“I think I’m finally out of my slump,” he said. “Getting out of a slump is not easy. But me and (Nick) Peoples have been taking extra swings and spending more time in the batting cages trying to work on things.”