Texas baseball: weekend recap vs. Hawaii

The Longhorns hosted Hawaii for a long four-game series over the weekend, which included a suspended game on Saturday due to rain. Here's a rundown of each game:

Game 1 – Texas 3, Hawaii 2

The game was over when… John Curtiss came on in the ninth and earned his first save of the season for the Longhorns. Before that, there was just no room for comfort for Texas given the way Hawaii was playing.

If he could do it over again… Hawaii's five-hole hitter Kalei Hanawahine couldn't get anything going at the plate. He went 0-for-4 including leaving a game-high three runners left on base.

Player of the game: Longhorns centerfielder Mark Payton went 2-for-4, including scoring the game-winning run in the eighth on a Jacob Felts single to right field. Payton rounded third base way too wide, which made his trek to home plate longer than usual, but his heads up slide around the tag of Hawaii catcher Trevor Podratz was the difference in the game. A lot of players couldn't have made that slide, or had the wherewithal to even attempt it.

Unsung hero of the game: Texas' infield. From Andy McGuire's leaping grab of a line drive, to Kacy Clemens' numerous scoops of tough short hops, to Brooks Marlow making a tough play look routine, the Longhorns were simply phenomenal. This is something head coach Augie Garrido has come to expect of this bunch. It might have something to do with them taking short hops from a pitching machine for hours during practice.

Stat of the game: 3. The number of earned runs allowed by Hawaii starter Matt Cooper were his first earned runs of the season. He entered the game 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 21 innings. Garrido said he was the best pitcher Texas had faced this season.

Game 2 – Hawaii 6, Texas 1

The game was over when…The Rainbow Warriors put up three runs in the second inning. That was all the cushion Hawaii starting pitcher Scott Squier needed as he surrendered just one run on two hits in a complete game.

If he could do it over again…Maybe it was the rain or maybe he was just due for one of these, but Texas starter Dillon Peters just didn't have it going in the first game of the doubleheader. He was tagged for six runs, four of them earned, on seven hits and a walk. This is the same pitcher that was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week and to the Houston College Classic All-Tournament Team after beating No. 12 Rice when he threw eight scoreless innings.

Player of the game: Squier improved to 2-0 after holding the Longhorns in check through some pretty miserable pitching conditions.

Unsung hero of the game: Hawaii's Kaeo Aliviado did everything you ask of a leadoff hitter. He went 1-for-4 with an RBI and scored once.

Stat of the game: 6. Number of runners Texas left on base. Four of those were at the hands of Texas' two-hole hitter Jacob Felts, who had the game-winning hit in Game 1.

Game 3 – Texas 3, Hawaii 2

The game was over when…The Longhorns turned a nifty 6-4-3 double play, capped by another impressive scoop at first by Kacy Clemens, to complete the comeback win in a game that was suspended in the 8th inning on Saturday, tied 2-2, due to rain.

If he could do it over again…Hawaii starter Jarrett Arakawa would ask for a redo of the fifth inning. He was pretty much cruising up to that point. Even after giving up a leadoff single to Kacy Clemens, Arakawa got the next two batters out. But then Brooks Marlow singled and Mark Payton tripled down the left field line to tie the game.

Player of the game: Clemens. He scored one run in the fifth after reaching base with a leadoff single, and then singled in the winning-run in the eighth. On top of that he continued to flash the leather at first base.

Unsung hero of the game: This could easily go to Ben Johnson, who walked, stole second and scored the game-winning run on Clemens' single. But we'll go with Morgan Cooper, who struck out two and didn't allow a hit in two innings of relief work after the game was suspended on Saturday.

Stat of the game: 4. The number of games out of its last six that Texas has won 3-2. It started with a win over Houston in the final game of the Houston College Classic. Then it continued with a nail-biter against Sam Houston State on March 2, and then in Game 1 against the Rainbow Warriors.

Game 4 – Texas 4, Hawaii 1

The game was over when… Hawaii right fielder Kalei Hanawahine let C.J. Hinojosa's single slip underneath his massive glove that allowed two runners to score and Hinojosa to advance to third. That extended Texas' lead to 4-1.

If he could do it over again… Hanawaahine would have gotten his glove down on Hinojosa's single. If he had then Texas would have likely only scored once, though there could have been a play at the plate had Mark Payton been sent.

Player of the game: Hinojosa had his best game of the series going 3-for-4 with 1 run scored and two RBI. He also walked once.

Unsung hero of the game: Texas' bullpen came into the game with a 2-1 lead and were nearly perfect. Between Ty Culbreth, Ty Marlow and John Curtiss, Longhorns relievers pitched four innings while giving up just one hit and striking out two. Starter Lukas Schiraldi went five innings allowing three hits, two walks and one earned run to pick up the victory.

Stat of the game: 4. For the fourth straight game Texas fell behind early but managed to win three of them.

Player of the series: Texas CF Mark Payton

He went 2-for-4 and scored the game-winning run on a nifty slide in Texas' 3-2 series-opening win on Friday. He collected one of Texas' two hits in its 6-1 loss in Game 1 of the doubleheader on Saturday. He tripled and drove in two runs to tie Game 3 late on Saturday. In Game 4 he walked three times, scored twice and had two stolen bases.

Pitcher of the series: Hawaii's Scott Squier

There was some really solid pitching from both sides over the weekend but the best has to go to Hawaii's Game 2 starter Squier. The southpaw pitched a seven-inning complete-game two-hitter in the Rainbow Warriors 6-1 win on Saturday. He walked four but only allowed one earned run.

Looking for the reset button: Hawaii's Hanawahine

In what was otherwise a cleanly played series, Hawaii's right fielder had the one boneheaded play that really stands out. It happened in Game 4 when he let Hinojosa's single go under his glove allowing two Texas players to trot home and make it a 4-1 game in the 6th. He was also 0-for-6 in the first two games and didn't do anything at the plat in the finale.

Quote of the series

Texas head coach Augie Garrido on if he's just come to expect sound defense from his team: "That has been our game, pitching and defense has been our game for a long time, and it wins games when it is at that level. Of course, they hit some balls too that were catchable, but were really hit hard. So, there is a luck factor involved with that too, but you still have to make the plays. We did make the plays defensively, they did hit into some bad luck, and that many times, separates the two teams. I thought he [Matt Cooper] was the best pitcher we have faced all year."

What we learned about Texas

This is one resilient bunch. Texas faced an early deficit in each game, but battled back to take three of four. The Longhorns aren't flashy by any means. But they play solid defense, especially at shortstop, second and first base, and have a plethora of arms to hold opponents at bay. This is very much a Garrido-type team.

Up next for Longhorns

The Longhorns travel to San Marcos on March 11 to take Texas State at 6:30 p.m. Then they'll begin conference play at home on March 14 with a three-game series at Kansas. First pitch for Game 1 is at 6:30 p.m.

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