Seven innings. Three pitchers. No hits.
That’s not one for the ages, but the tag-team no-hitter served the Longhorns well as they defeated Texas Southern 4-0 in the seven-inning first game of a doubleheader Saturday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
Parker French (4-4) pitched the first three innings and was given credit for the victory. Travis Duke and Corey Knebel pitched two innings apiece. Knebel, returning from a three-game suspension, struck out four and issued the only walk by the Longhorns.
The last no-hitter for the Longhorns was thrown by one pitcher — Brandon Workman, on March 1, 2009 against Penn State. French enjoyed earning one as a collective.
“That was pretty cool to share that with my teammates,” French said.
Dillon Peters (6-3), Nathan Thornhill and Josh Urban then one-hit Texas Southern (20-27) during the nine-inning second game won by the Longhorns 12-0.
Texas (26-22) had 26 hits in the doubleheader, including six triples, three in each game. Mark Payton and C.J Hinojosa hit two triples apiece, one in each game. Payton, a junior, has 14 triples in three seasons, tied for sixth on the Longhorn career list. Eight of them have come this year, placing him in a tie for the fourth-best season in school history.
“This park is so big it doesn’t want me to hit home runs,” said Payton, who has five home runs during his career, three at the Disch. “I think the baseball gods say ‘hey, you can use your legs.’ “
Eight of the Longhorns 26 hits didn’t leave the infield. One of them was by Patrick Marsh, a senior who has spent four seasons as bullpen catcher. Marsh was sent to the plate on senior day by coach Augie Garrido as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning. In his first career at-bat, Marsh produced a ground ball into the hole between short and third. Shortstop Chris DeLeon fielded the ball but did not make a throw. Longhorn fans, and Marsh’s teammates, celebrated.
Marsh could have batted again in the eighth as the the designated hitter, but Garrido elected to preserve perfection.
“He said, ‘if you get to bat again, we’re gonna take you out so you can leave this place batting 1.000,’ ” Marsh said. “I’m fine with that.”
The Longhorns had 11 hits in the first game, including two apiece by Payton, Hinojosa, Collin Shaw and Jeremy Montalbano.
Taylor Stell contributed three hits in the second game, while Hinojosa, Weiss and Brooks Marlow had two apiece.
Stell, Payton, Marlow and Montalbano drove in two runs each in the second game. Texas, last in the Big 12 in runs per game, scored seven in the second inning.
“You saw a team much more relaxed when they had runs to work with,” Garrido said. “Run scoring settles the pitcher down. It settles the defense down.”