No. 1 Baseball drops season opener to San Diego, 4-2
SAN DIEGO -- Toreros pitchers Josh Butler and Brian Matusz combined for nine strikeouts and held the Longhorns to only two hits through the first seven innings as No. 1 Texas dropped a 4-2 decision to San Diego in front of 1,200 fans at Cunningham Stadium on Friday, Feb. 3.
The game marked the 2006 season opener for both clubs as the Horns fell to 0-1 overall and the Toreros moved to 1-0 on the new year and also gave USD its first-ever victory over UT in seven chances.
Starters Kyle McCulloch (Houston, Texas) for UT and Butler for San Diego set the tone early as they kept the game scoreless through three and one half innings of play. While McCulloch had surrendered one walk and posted three strikeouts over the first three innings, Butler allowed only two singles and one walk opposite five strikeouts in his first four frames.
In the bottom of the fourth, USD second baseman Keoni Ruth drew a leadoff walk and came around to score on a double down the right field line by Justin Snyder to give the Toreros a 1-0 lead. McCulloch then got his next batter to line out, but the ball deflected off his foot and resulted in his exit from the game. From there, Randy Boone (Yoakum, Texas) came on in relief and after getting the first out of the inning on an appeal of the line drive off McCulloch, worked out of a two-on, two-out jam on a nice fielding play by Chais Fuller (Fairfield, Calif.) and Chance Wheeless (Round Rock, Texas).
One inning later, the Toreros placed runners on second and third with one out via a hit batter, a single and a balk. Ruth then came up with a sacrifice fly to center field to push the San Diego lead to 2-0. The Longhorns' offense, meanwhile, was kept in check by Butler in the fifth and Matusz in both the sixth and seventh. In the bottom of the seventh, San Diego loaded the bases with two outs on two singles and a hit batter before an infield single deep in the hole at shortstop off the bat of Daniel Magness yielded two more scores and a 4-0 USD lead. Looking to answer, the Horns received one-out singles from both Fuller and Nick Peoples (Round Rock, Texas) in the eighth before Drew Stubbs (Atlanta, Texas) delivered a two-out, double down the left-field line to cut the Toreros' lead in half at 4-2. After UT escaped another threat by San Diego in the bottom of the eighth, the Horns hoped to continue their rally in the ninth, but Matusz retired the side in order to preserve the victory and earn his first save. While Butler earned the win behind five innings of shutout baseball that included five strikeouts, McCulloch, who sustained a bruised right heel and is day-to-day, shouldered the tough loss. Additionally, Matusz fanned four over the final four innings of the game while surrendering two runs on three hits en route to the save.
Leading the UT offense on the afternoon was Peoples, who went 2-for-3 with a run scored, and Stubbs, who accounted for both Texas runs with his eighth-inning, two-out double. The Toreros, meanwhile, had their nine-hit attack paced by Ruth, who went 1-for-2 with two runs scored and one RBI, Josh Romanski, who collected two hits, and Magnuss, who drove in two runs. Other notables for Texas included Bradley Suttle (Boerne, Texas) registering his first career hit with a second-inning single, and solid relief appearances by freshmen Joey Parigi (Monterey, Calif.) and Austin Wood (Kingwood, Texas), who combined to allow only on run on three hits over the final 3.1 innings of the contest.
The Longhorns and Toreros square off in the second game of their three-game series at Cunningham Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 3 p.m. Central.