Texas 8, South Carolina 5: Longhorns complete sweep of Gamecocks as Big 12 play looms
At UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Sunday, Texas prepped for its Big 12 foes with an 8-5 win over No. 12 South Carolina and a sweep.
The three-run win was Texas' fifth in a row. It also completed UT's first series sweep of a ranked team since it went 3-0 against No. 2 LSU at home in 2019.
Texas (11-5) will open up Big 12 play next weekend with a series at Baylor. The Longhorns were picked to finish third in the conference's preseason poll.
"I feel a lot better (about this team)," senior catcher DJ Petrinsky said. "I think we're starting to get the bats going, we're starting to play as a team. We definitely made some strides."
Ranked 19th this past week in the D1Baseball poll, Texas had beaten South Carolina 4-1 on Friday. The Longhorns followed that up with Saturday's 3-0 conquest.
UT wrapped up both of those victories in around three hours. On Sunday, it took more than two hours to get through the first four innings.
Texas exited the fourth inning with an 8-2 lead after scoring in each of the frames. During its at-bats over those innings, Texas produced seven hits. The Longhorns also drew four walks, stole three bases and benefited from three South Carolina errors. Eight members of the Texas lineup reached base over the first four innings, and Mitchell Daly still drove in a run as the batting order's outlier.
Texas built its lead behind RBI doubles from Ivan Melendez and DJ Petrinsky, and Cam Williams, Zach Zubia and Trey Faltine all contributed run-scoring singles. UT also scored on two sacrifice flies.
"It felt like we didn't have to rely on the bunts or the steals today," Petrinsky said. "It helps that we still do that but we barreled some balls. Those doubles definitely helped."
Texas chased South Carolina starter Julian Bosnic in the middle of an at-bat in the fourth inning. But like his counterpart, Texas' Kolby Kubichek was mired in a Sunday slump.
A sophomore right-hander, Kubichek surrendered five hits, one of which was Wes Clarke's nation-leading ninth homer of the season. Kubichek hit three Gamecocks and unleashed a run-scoring wild pitch.
Kubichek ended up working four innings on Sunday. Of his 92 pitches, none were more important than the 10 he threw to close out the fourth inning.
With the Longhorns leading 4-2, Kubichek hit South Carolina's Joe Satterfield with a one-out offering. With two runners now aboard and Clarke due up, Texas coach David Pierce called for a mound meeting. Pierce had Tanner Witt ready in the bullpen but he called off his infielders and only had Petrinsky join him for a discussion with Kubichek.
Pierce elected to keep Kubichek in the game. Kubichek responded with a strikeout of Clarke. He then got South Carolina clean-up hitter Josiah Sightler to fly out to the warning track in right field.
Pierce told reporters that he considered calling for Witt when he exited the dugout. The attitude of Kubichek, though, helped convince him to gamble on his starter.
"If he were ready to hand me the ball at the time, then we were going to Witt and we'll go to that matchup," Pierce said. "But I liked his demeanor of how he approached me. He looked me in the eye and says 'Coach, I can beat him right here.' "
Since Kubichek left the game after the fourth inning, Witt eventually earned the win after he threw three innings of two-hit relief. Cole Quintanilla and Aaron Nixon then finished out the game against South Carolina (11-3), which scored twice in the ninth inning.
Around the bases: Texas is now 6-0 all-time against South Carolina. That includes 5-1 and 12-6 wins in 1975 and 2002 that clinched national championships for the Longhorns. ... The quartet of Texas pitchers combined to register a dozen strikeouts, which is tied for UT's second-best total this season. ... A grad transfer from St. John's, Texas outfielder Mike Antico has reached base in 14 straight games. ... The Longhorns will return to the field on Tuesday for a home game against UT-RGV.