Last weekend I attended the Texas vs. Texas State fall scrimmage. Texas had played the previous day against Lamar and lost a rain-shortened scrimmage. Texas State, a new member of the Sun Belt conference, travelled 30 miles north to Austin to take on the Longhorns.
Fall games are a little different than the regular season in that the coaches are really trying to see all of the guys play in a game situation, so I saw a Texas lineup that featured 3 designated hitters and a Texas State pitching rotation that featured 12 pitchers in 12 innings.
Texas ultimately won the game 9-0 despite both teams having 10 hits apiece. Now, I will discuss a few things that stood out to me.
The Texas pitching staff was phenomenal. Weekend starters Dillon Peters, Parker French, and Nathan Thornhill each threw 3 innings and were great. Peters started and allowed 1 hit while striking out 3, French allowed 4 hits while striking out 5, and Thornhill allowed 1 hit while striking out 3. As a staff, the Longhorns had 12 strikeouts and only issued 2 walks. This staff will be very tough to beat as long as they continue to pound the strike zone and attack opposing hitters.
Another thing that stood out to me was the strength of the Texas defense. The Longhorn defense turned 4 crucial double plays to help out their pitching staff. Freshman Zane Gurwitz started a 5-4-3 double play with a solid play at third base. CJ Hinojosa and Brooks Marlow looked solid up the middle of the Texas infield and they combined for 3 double plays to end Texas State threats in the late innings. I was specifically impressed by Hinojosa’s range at shortstop. In the 12th inning, Hinojosa ranged to get a ball behind the bag at second base and nab the runner by a step. On the next play, he made a solid backhand play in the hole at shortstop. Also, outfielder Collin Shaw had a great diving catch that was the #1 play on SportsCenter’s Top 10.
Both offenses were solid, but not flashy by any means. Out of the 20 hits in the game, only 2 went for extra bases. Although this isn’t all that unexpected because pitching typically has the upper hand when it has been awhile since they have played a game. Matt Sanchez, the Bobcats’ leadoff hitter, impressed me with a solid 3 for 5 day at the plate and a stolen base. Ben Johnson was the only Longhorn to record a multi-hit game as he went 3 for 5 as well.
All in all, the game was good for both sides as the coaching staffs were able to see their guys get out and compete against another team. I believe both teams have a chance to be very good this year. The Texas team proved that they can pitch and play defense, it’s just a matter if they can swing the bats better this year. As for Texas State, they showed that they have 12 capable arms on their pitching staff and that they will not be a team to be taken lightly in the Sun Belt conference.