March 1, 2009
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AUSTIN, Texas -- Brandon Workman faced the minimum 27 batters and recorded the 21st no-hitter in Texas Longhorns’ history on Sunday afternoon at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. The no-hitter came in a 9-0 win over the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Workman allowed just three base runners in the game, two on walks and one on an error. It was the second UT no-hitter for catcher Cameron Rupp who was also behind the plate for the Horns’ last no-no, when Kenn Kasparek shut down Texas State on April 29, 2008.
Workman walked Rick Marlin to lead off the third inning, but Cameron Rupp gunned him down on a steal attempt to end the inning with a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play. Blake Lynd reached on a throwing error by UT shortstop David Hernandez to start the fourth inning, but Rupp threw him out trying to swipe second. The final Penn State runner came in the seventh inning when Lynd reached on Workman’s second walk but Louie Picconi grounded into a double play.
In the ninth inning, Marlin put a scare into the crowd as he roped a ball off Workman’s leg for what appeared to be a hit, but Hernandez saved the moment, scooping up the ricochet and barely beating Marlin with the throw to first. Workman retired Sean Deegan and Bobby Jacobs on swinging strikeouts to preserve the no-hitter.
Texas drew first blood in the first inning when Travis Tucker reached on a wind-aided double to leftfield, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Brandon Loy and scored on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Belt.
The Longhorns tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning with an RBI double down the leftfield line by Tant Shepherd and a run-scoring single to rightfield by Cameron Rupp to stake the Horns to a 3-0 edge.
Texas scored three runs in the fifth to put the game in cruise control. Connor Rowe and Tucker led off the inning with back-to-back triples. Belt singled up the middle to plate Tucker. Clark doubled to rightfield and Shepherd followed with a single through the left side of the infield to drive in Belt, inflating the cushion to 6-0.
The Longhorns wrapped up the scoring with three runs in the eighth. The inning included an RBI double by Rupp and a run-scoring single by Hernandez.
Tucker and Shepherd each had three hits to lead the Texas bats. Tucker went 3-for-5 with two runs, one double and one RBI. Shepherd went 3-for-4 with one run, two doubles, one stolen base and one RBI. Rupp went 2-for-4 with one run, one triple and two RBI.
The Longhorns return to action on Tuesday as they travel to San Marcos to help christen the newly renovated Bobcat Field at Texas State University. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.
Head coach Augie Garrido
On Brandon Workman’s no-hitter: Brandon Workman was brilliant today and he’s been working toward that. The insight on that is, he and Cole Green are great buddies and they sit and talk between innings every game, whether Cole’s pitching or whether Brandon’s pitching. One of the comments that came out of the bullpen after Cole’s game yesterday was if Workman’s going to do better than that, he’s going to have pitch a no-hitter. Well, there you go. He met the challenge. It’s a very exciting time. Adrian Alaniz [did it] earlier, then we had Kenn Kasparek last year. [Cameron] Rupp is taking all the credit, by the way. You can’t have a no-hitter without a great catcher. That’s what Yogi Berra said and it still holds true today.
On whether Workman’s performance surprised him: Baseball’s a great game of opportunity. It doesn’t surprise me when people are successful. I’m more surprised when they fail. I think one of the things I like best about this job is that underneath their uniforms, they all have a red “S” on their chests, and at any given moment with the right amount of confidence, they can be a genius at what they’re doing. It’s just incredible. Ask anybody from Fresno State last year.
On when he knew that Workman had a chance at a no-hitter: After the fifth [inning] is where I felt it. But all of the pitchers have pitched with that kind of rhythm. It looked like a pretty normal pitching performance based on what this staff has been doing day in and day out. Then it started to get more exciting and as it started to count down, you start to feel the excitement of all of that. It was very cool.
On the rest of the pitching staff: There’s a lot more focus on [Chance] Ruffin, which makes it harder for him. He’s the Friday night starter and the expectation level is there, but he’s managing that real well. Workman and Green have a real high-end potential, but they didn’t realize and people didn’t realize that about them last year as a result of the way they pitched. They were a lot less consistent than the freshmen on this year’s team. [Taylor] Jungmann, [Austin] Dicharry and [Andrew] McKirahan, all three have pitched at about the same level of these others, and I think that’s all about the consistency of coach Johnson being in his third year. He’s recruiting not only the right kinds of pitchers but the right kinds of personalities to match up with his teaching techniques.
On when the transition happened for Workman: I think he changed in the fall. He established a level of confidence in the Cape [Cod League], but he still did not have a great fall for us. I think he really started making the change when he saw that he was being outpitched by the people on this team. All of a sudden he started getting the ball down consistently, getting his breaking ball over consistently, and started pitching instead of throwing. Because of the way the scouts influence the players, and the players as prospects want to sign professional contracts, they’re about lighting up that radar gun. That didn’t get people out necessarily.
Pitcher Brandon Workman
On throwing a no-hitter game: It wasn’t like I went into the game today thinking I was going to. Obviously, I was trying to not let guys get hits off of me but you don’t go in there expecting to throw a no hitter by any stretch. Once you kind of figure out that it’s going to happen, it’s exciting up there. It’s awesome. I’ve obviously never done it at this level and it’s really exciting to be able to do it.
On when it hit him that he was going to have a no-hitter game: I am really excited. I knew it was going on. I can look up on the scoreboard and see that it was going on. About the fifth or sixth, you start thinking I’m getting close. I knew that it was going on the whole time but it didn’t start to get significant until the fifth or sixth inning. I knew the entire time that nobody had gotten a hit but early on, you don’t think anything of it.
On striking out the last hitter: Honestly, I was just throwing the ball in that last inning. I had a lot of adrenaline going on at that point in time and I was just throwing the pitches he [Cameron Rupp] was calling.
On if he’s thrown a no-hitter before today: In high school, I have but I’ve never thrown a nine-inning no-hitter before. I threw two in high school. The extra two innings make a difference. It was really exciting.
On improving from last year: I am a lot more confident in my abilities this year than last year. I go out expecting to do well instead of hoping to do well. I had a really strong summer and I kind of just built off of that. I really worked on getting the ball down and locate my pitches better. That’s really helping out this year because I am able to be ahead in the count and it keeps hitters from sitting on pitches.
On Pitching Coach Skip Johnson’s advice to him: He came out once and told me to just calm down, take a deep breath, hit my spots and don’t try to overthrow. Obviously that worked out well because I was able to get out of the inning.
On what he’s going to do with the game ball: I’ll probably give it to my parents and tell them to take it home so I don’t lose it.
Centerfielder Connor Rowe
On Brandon Workman’s performance today: I’m really excited for him and proud of him. As of right now, I think it’s starting to soak in for him. Right when it happened, I think he was more excited for his teammates and his coaches. In two or three hours, it’s going to soak in and he’ll have a big grin on his face the whole night.
On the team’s success so far this season: Just coming from last year, I think our attitudes are different. We’re kind of more like a family than a team. We feel more comfortable around each other and we’re like a family.
Left fielder Tant Shepherd
On Brandon Workman’s no-hitter: We had one last year, but it’s more special when one of your best friends throws it. Having multiple balls hit to me today, I was probably more nervous than him that I was going to drop a fly ball and mess it up. He did an unreal job, stayed composed and threw his no-hitter.
On Workman’s improvement over last season: He completely turned around from last season. He kind of struggled a little bit and then he went to the Cape [Cod League]. I think it was a more of a pressure factor. Up there, he didn’t feel he had to throw for anybody, just himself. I think he brought that mentality back with him and now he’s pitching better than he’s ever done before.
On starting the season 9-0: To be honest, I’m loving our pitching because it’s easy to win when you don’t have to score many runs. I think we gave up a total of four runs this weekend. When an offense feels comfortable and you only have to get three runs a game, you’re going to win a lot of ballgames. Our pitching staff right now is unreal.
On playing their next four games on the road: The first road week is always hard. Mostly it’s the atmosphere that you go to. The fans are a lot different there. You just feel way out of place, but if we keep playing our baseball and stay focused I think we’ll be fine on the road, especially in California.
Catcher Cameron Rupp
On coach Garrido’s statement that Rupp was taking credit for the no-hitter: No way. He’s the one out there throwing the ball and I’m just back there catching for him. He did a great job. I’ve known the kid since we were nine, we played growing up together. He’s always been competitive. He just does everything he’s supposed to, throws hard, throws strikes all the time. He almost did the same thing last weekend that he did this weekend. I’m just so happy for him. He’s one of my best friends growing up, so it’s awesome.
On whether he knew Workman was capable of such a feat: He’s capable of pitching a perfect game. Today was his day. He came out and threw the ball. In the ninth when that ball hit off him and went to David [Hernandez], as soon as that happened I knew he was going to get it. We played well behind him and everything worked for him today.