College Baseball Gunslingers Thrive In Texas On Opening Weekend

February 23, 2011

Some Of The Lone Star State’s Top Early Performances…

College baseball made a triumphant return this last weekend.  As for Texas, which has seen its fair share of strong college pitchers in the past, it was a weekend reminiscent of the wild west as the rocket arms of gun-slinging pitchers controlled most of the action in the Lone Star State.  Here’s a look at some of the weekend’s best pitching performances from Texas.

By College Baseball 360 Contributor Stephen Francis

Taylor Jungmann — Junior RHP, Texas Longhorns

Jungmann has already become a household name among college baseball experts in the past two years.  His 6′ 6″ frame and brilliant “stuff” make him already one of the nation’s most-decorated pitchers.  The righty set the tone for the Longhorns on opening day with a shutout on five hits and a walk with nine strikeouts against the Maryland Terrapins.  The shutout was the first of Jungmann’s career, and the first season-opening shutout for a Longhorn pitcher since 1985.

Hoby Milner — Sophomore LHP, Texas Longhorns

Milner could become a surprise player for the Texas pitching staff this season.  He put together a fantastic freshman season going 3-1 in 18 appearances with a 1.97 ERA in 2010.  He’s vying for the third weekend starting spot this year and he made a brilliant case for it in Texas’ fourth game of the season against Maryland by pitching seven shutout innings and allowing just two hits while walking two and striking out 10.  With his win the Longhorns took three of four from Maryland to win the series.

Kyle Winkler — Junior RHP, TCU Horned Frogs

Those not familiar with Winkler should be ashamed.  For those that may not recall, Winkler was the winning pitcher in TCU’s decisive game three of the Super Regionals against Texas last season after his masterful 7 2/3 innings of shutout pitching.  He finished second on the team in wins with 12 and his 3.39 ERA made him one of the best #3 pitchers in the country.  On Saturday, Kyle quickly put his two College World Series losses behind him by striking out eight Kansas hitters over seven innings of one-hit ball while allowing just one unearned run to earn TCU’s second win of the series against the Jayhawks.

John Stilson — Junior RHP, Texas A&M Aggies

Last season’s Big XII Newcomer of the Year took the ball on opening day and in just six innings of work struck out nine LeMoyne hitters.  The Dolphins managed just three hits and a walk against him and scored one unearned run as the Aggies took the opener 3-1 behind the arm of Stilson.  It seemed to foreshadow what LeMoyne was going to see for the weekend.

Michael Wacha — Sophomore RHP, Texas A&M Aggies

Wacha, one of the top freshmen pitchers from the 2010 baseball season, seemed to take good notes from everything Stilson had done the day before and nearly duplicated the effort.  His six shutout innings with seven strikeouts kept the Dolphins frustrated while the Texas A&M offense pounded out 10 runs of support to back him up.

Ross Hales — Sophomore LHP, Texas A&M Aggies

After missing almost the entire 2010 season due to injury, Hales toed the rubber in game three for the Aggies and pitched as if he hadn’t missed a beat.  His gem in game three clinched an opening weekend sweep for the Aggies and was arguably the best start of the weekend for Texas A&M.  Like his predecessors, Hales pitched six shutout innings but allowed just two hits and walked two while striking out five.

Robbie Kilcrease — Junior (RS) LHP, Texas Tech Red Raiders

Robbie was another pitcher to miss the 2010 season due to injury.  Based on Saturday’s performance, Kilcrease may be bouncing back stronger than he was before the injury.  In game two of the Red Raider Classic against Northwestern, he went seven innings while allowing just one earned run on four hits and no walks with four strikeouts.

Jamen Parten — Sophomore RHP, Texas Tech Red Raiders

Jamen is a newcomer to the Red Raider pitching staff after transferring this past fall from North Central Texas College, where he won four games with a 4.35 ERA.  Parten made his Texas Tech debut nicely by going five innings and allowing only one earned run on four hits and striking out four.  Tech fans should be intrigued to see what else Jamen has to offer this season.

Codey Morehouse — Junior RHP, Houston Cougars

Believe it or not, Morehouse did more damage with his bat in 2010 than he did on the mound.  That wasn’t the case though on Friday as Codey put together a masterpiece of an outing in seven innings of work with just one earned run allowed on four hits with six strikeouts against The University of Texas-Arlington.

Jordan Lewis — Junior LHP, Houston Cougars

Jordan transferred to the Cougars this past fall from Western Nevada College, which finished 2009 third at the NJCAA World Series during his freshman season.  He played a major role on that team and was one of the most highly-decorated pitchers in the NJCAA by the end of the year.  He looked that good against the UT-Arlington Mavericks on Saturday by pitching seven shutout innings while surrendering just five hits and a walk while striking out two.  Jordan will be worth keeping an eye on in 2011 as he faces even more fierce competition.

Matthew Reckling — Junior RHP, Rice Owls

Rice head coach Wayne Graham speaks very highly of Reckling and went so far as to say, “Matthew is one of the players who made a big jump in the fall, throwing harder and with better control. He should be an impact pitcher this spring.”  He made an immediate impact in game two for the Owls against Stanford when he pitched six innings of shutout ball on four hits with no walks and two strikeouts.  If coach Graham is right, the best is yet to come for Reckling.

In total, these 11 pitchers put up phenomenal combined numbers on the weekend.  With a combined record of 11-0, these Texas hurlers posted an earned run average of 0.37 in 73 innings, striking out 8.14 hitters per nine innings with a combined WHIP of 0.63 while issuing just seven walks.  But while the pitchers seemed to highlight the weekend, there were also some hitters that fired big shots of their own.  These guys made statements at the plate.

Matt Juengel — Junior DH, Texas A&M Aggies

Matt had a strong post-season in 2010 at the Coral Gables Regional with two home runs and eight runs batted in.  Juengel kept the momentum going this weekend against LeMoyne as he went five for eleven with two home runs, two triples, seven runs batted in, a walk and five runs scored.

Kelby Tomlinson
— Junior SS, Texas Tech Red Raiders

Tomlinson transferred to the Red Raiders this past fall from Seward County Community College where he scored a school-record 90 runs in 2010 while batting .328 during his two seasons there.  During his first weekend as a Red Raider, Kelby went seven for twelve with six runs batted in, three runs scored and five walks at the Red Raider Classic.

Austin Elkins
— Sophomore 3B/2B, Dallas Baptist University

Austin is always a good name for a kid in Texas, but this weekend it also proved to be a good name on the diamond.  Elkins demonstrated the ultimate example of “all or nothing” as DBU swept Indiana State to open the season.  Despite just four hits in 13 at bats, three of Austin’s four hits were home runs.  Even more amazingly, two of them were grand slams that came in back-to-back games and the third was a solo home run.  He finished the weekend with nine runs batted in, two walks and seven runs scored.
Despite these power surges from the weekend, there was one player that made a dramatic appearance and is this week’s Texas player of the week without putting one over the fence.

Erich Weiss — Freshman 3B, Texas Longhorns

This freshman jumped right into the UT lineup as if he’d been born with a bat in his hands, getting hits in nine of his eleven at bats with two triples, a double, seven runs batted in and six runs scored.  When he wasn’t making contact, he was reaching via the walk.  Weiss finished the weekend with a jaw-dropping OPS of 2.097.  That might be one of the best debut weekends all-time, if anyone can even know that.

Chase Jensen
— Sophomore SS, Houston Cougars

Jensen is yet another transfer student that starred this weekend.  He transferred to the Cougars from Weatherford College following a second team All-Conference selection.  He introduced himself to Houston fans by hitting safely nine times in 15 at bats with a home run, two doubles, five runs batted in and four runs scored.

Austin Gracey — Junior 3B, Houston Cougars

After a productive 2010, Austin made sure to get things going early for the second straight year.  Gracey belted two home runs while going eight for 14 with seven runs batted in and five runs scored.

As far as the teams in Texas, here are some key week two series taking place with teams from the nation’s 28th state:

Texas @ Hawaii — Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Texas Tech vs. BYU — Thursday, Friday (as part of the Brooks Wallace Memorial Classic in Lubbock, TX)

TCU vs. Cal St. Fullerton — Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Houston vs. Mississippi — Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Rice vs. USC — Friday, Saturday, Sunday

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