Longhorn fans get first look and taste of competition in Texas’ No. 1 baseball at alumni game – The Daily Texan
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the February 8, 2022 flipbook.
An hour before Texas No. 1 Baseball played its alumni in the annual alumni game, facility employees chipped the hardened ice on the bleachers just before spectators were allowed through the gates from UFCU Disch-Falk Field. Despite the recent winter storm that had rolled through Austin, the weather cleared up just in time for fans to wrap up in blankets and welcome alumni to Forty Acres.
Historically, the Alumni Game is an opportunity for fans to interact with current and former Longhorn baseball players as part of the annual Texas Fan Appreciation Day, which includes autograph signings and sessions. photos with athletes. However, the game also served as a source of internal competition information before the start of the season.
With redshirt junior Ivan Melendez leaving his designated hitter role for first base, redshirt senior Murphy Stehly and second Dylan Campbell started as designated hitter for Texas and Texas alumni, respectively. The competition between the two batters quickly turned the game into an offensive power struggle, with the former eventually winning 8-6.
“This competition is really healthy for us,” said head coach David Pierce. “It makes me excited because now it gives us another option. (Campbell) is a young man struggling to be an everyday starter.
Upon Campbell’s departure to the alumni team, the second carried the alumni and struck out only once of his five times at bat, hitting a homer in the second inning and recording a double, two singles and three runs produced overnight.
“Dylan Campbell (was) probably a bad trade on my part because he had a great day,” Pierce said. “But we always felt like he could rise to the top of that order.”
For Texas, Stehly blasted second-year pitcher Lucas Gordon’s fastball in front of center field for a third-inning home run, putting the home team on the board. While Stehly recorded no further statistical success on the night, the California product sent a sacrificial fly to bring redshirt sophomore receiver Silas Ardoin home in the fourth.
The alumni squad included 2021 rookies like Zach Zubia and Mike Antico, who were competitive upon their return to Forty Acres. The pair combined for two scores on the night and got into a trashy chat with former teammate and senior redshirt pitcher Tristan Stevens after Zubia retired in the first inning.
Former Longhorn shortstop David Hamilton also showed up on Saturday. While at Texas, Hamilton was named to the All-Big 12 second team and was drafted in the eighth round of the 2019 MLB Draft. Hamilton recorded two hits and was involved in a double play that edged red-shirted junior outfielder Eric Kennedy.
“They’re all young and they’re either breaking through or just getting started. They’re in good shape,” Pierce said.
Before the game began, second baseman Kody Clemens, first baseman Kacy Clemens and Roger Clemens, their father and former MLB pitcher, took a photo, acknowledging Texas baseball’s heritage.
“It’s just good to see our guys,” Pierce said. “It’s a special place.”