Three Horns Combine On Shutout Of San Diego St.

AUSTIN, Texas -- By turning in a six-inning, eight-strikeout performance, junior pitcher J.P. Howell (Sacramento, Calif./Jesuit/USC), combined with teammates Kyle Yates (Kerrville, Texas/Kerrville Tivy/Midland College) and Buck Cody (Oklahoma City, Okla./Casady) on UT's third shutout of the season as No. 2 Texas (13-2) blanked San Diego State (7-11) by a score of 6-0 in front of 4,164 fans at Disch-Falk Field on Friday, February 27.

Howell and fellow starter Scott Shoemaker for San Diego State locked in a pitchers duel early on as both sides were limited to two hits and one base hit, respectively, through the first three and one half innings. The Longhorns then made a bid to break on top of the first as they loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the fourth on a single from Seth Johnston (Boerne, Texas/Boerne), a walk and an error, but Shoemaker recorded his first strikeout of the afternoon to get out of the jam and keep the game knotted at 0-0.

One inning later, David Maroul (Benbrook, Texas/Western Hills/Grayson CC) led off with single to left, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and came around to score the first run of the game on a RBI-single through the middle of the diamond by Hunter Harris (Tulsa, Okla./Metro Christian Academy/Connors St. College). Curtis Thigpen (Forney, Texas/Forney) then connected on a solo home run with two outs in the frame that was followed by a two-run blast from Johnston to push the Longhorns in front by a score of 4-0.

Now staked to a four-run lead, Howell worked a one-two-three sixth before the Horns' offense went back to work in the bottom of the inning as consecutive hits by Ryan Russ (Comfort, Texas/Kerrville Tivy/Texas A&M/Navarro College) and Drew Stubbs (Atlanta, Texas/Atlanta) resulted in two more scores and a 6-0 Texas advantage when Dooley Prince (Sulphur, La./Sulphur/McNeese State) grounded a two-run single through the right-side of the infield. While the Aztecs placed runners on second and third with one out in the top of the seventh in a bid to cut into their deficit, Yates struck out the next two batters he faced to end the threat and then rolled a double play with two runners on in the eighth to keep UT's advantage at 6-0. Cody then came on in the top of the ninth to close out the victory for the Horns. While Howell earned his third career combined shutout and second victory of the year after tossing six scoreless innings of two-hit baseball, Shoemaker, who turned in a 109-pitch effort, incurred the loss.

Headlining the Horns' offense, which plated six runs on 11 hits was the trio of Harris, Johnston, and Stubbs, who each collected two hits on the afternoon while combining for three RBI, two runs scored and two stolen bases, while both Johnston and Thigpen recorded their third home runs of the year. Of note, each Texas starter either tallied a hit or reached base safely in the game. Meanwhile, San Diego State was led by four different Aztecs who each collected one hit, including Ryan Embrey, who collected a double during a pinch-hit appearance.

These two teams square off in Game #2 of their three-game series at Disch-Falk Field on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 2 p.m.

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