UT's Ryan Reynolds rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the alumni game at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Feb. 3, 2018. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Baseball

Texas swings for the fences in a 10-7 knockout of Northwestern

Posted March 3rd, 2018

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After a slow start to its week, Texas’ offense was resurrected on Saturday afternoon.

Three of Texas’ eight hits were home runs, and that power surge carried the Longhorns to a 10-7 win over Northwestern at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. The 10-run performance came after Texas opened the week with a 2-0 win over UT-San Antonio and a 6-2 loss to the Wildcats.

With the triumph in the first game of a double-header between the Longhorns and Wildcats, Texas improved to 6-4.

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“It’s going to be a grind, but you have to come out and play it pitch-by-pitch,” Texas catcher Michael McCann said when asked Friday about playing twice on Saturday. “Every pitch counts. Coach (David Pierce) really stresses on the importance of each pitch, and we’ve got to win every pitch.”

Texas had hit four home runs over its first nine games, but the Longhorns nearly matched that number on Saturday. Facing Northwestern right-hander Hank Christie and his 12.27 ERA, Kody Clemens and Ryan Reynolds both hit two-run shots over the first four innings. Duke Ellis then went deep in the seventh inning.

Clemens’ blast extended his hitting streak to 10 games, and he exited the contest with a .429 batting average. Reynolds’ home run was the first of his season. Ellis, a sophomore who spent last year at Panola College, recorded his first home run with the Longhorns.

Texas scored four more times during a sixth inning that saw as many hits as errors (two). That sixth-inning scoring spree boosted UT’s lead to 8-3, and Ellis’ solo shot gave them a 9-5 cushion. Texas trailed only once on Saturday despite getting outhit 12-8.

Northwestern (3-5) hit just 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position. In the fifth inning, two Wildcats were caught looking at strikeout pitches thrown by Texas starter Nolan Kingham. Additionally, Northwestern runners were stranded on second and third base on a game-ending flyout to left field.

During a start that lasted 5 2/3 innings, Kingham struck out seven while allowing seven hits and three runs. Four days after he picked up his third career save, Kingham improved to 2-1 on the season.

Around the bases: On the first offering he saw on Saturday, Northwestern outfielder David Dunn had to avoid a pitch thrown inside by Kingham. The previous day, Dunn was seen doing the Horns Down signal. … Northwestern coach Spencer Allen was ejected for arguing after the call of a run-scoring balk by Texas was overturned in the seventh inning. … Freshman first baseman Sam Bertelson made his first career start and appearance in the field. … After missing the last seven games with a shoulder injury, senior Jake McKenzie replaced Bertelson in the seventh inning. One inning later, McKenzie added a RBI double to UT’s score.

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