AUSTIN, Tex. — The first strikeout by a Boise State pitcher came from Travis Weston in the bottom of the first inning.
The first Boise State hit was by Joe Yorke in the second.
The first run and first win will have to wait at least one more day.
The Boise State baseball team returned to the diamond for the first time in 40 years Friday night, but it mustered just four hits and couldn’t score in a 7-0 loss to No. 22 Texas at Disch-Falk Field in Austin.
But Friday was about more than the final score. It was about Boise State finally having a baseball team again.
“I think everybody had some nerves and jitters coming into this one because we knew how special this was,” said catcher Cory Meyer, who had one of Boise State’s four hits. “We were the first to start the program back up after 40 years and it definitely hit us this morning at breakfast.
“We’re excited to get that one out of the way because we know we can compete moving forward. It was obvious the talent is there. The end result wasn’t there but we showed a lot of promise. We have some potential here.”
Nearly three years since announcing in April of 2017 that baseball was coming back, the Broncos were on the field for the first time competing against the program with the most College World Series appearances of all-time.
Texas had already played five games and won them all. The Broncos hadn’t been able even practice outside prior to a workout Thursday night when they landed in Austin. What seemed like a one-sided matchup proved to be just that.
Boise State struggled offensively, finishing with four hits while striking out a staggering 16 times. The Broncos, who were forced to hit inside the Caven-Williams Sports Complex the past month due to the weather, put a runner on third base just once and never could string together multiple hits in the same inning.
“We’re not here to make excuses,” Yorke said. “We want to embrace adversity, so we’re not going to use (hitting inside all preseason) as an excuse. It was tough, but hopefully we can come out tomorrow and turn those numbers around.”
Weston allowed three runs on six hits and had six strikeouts in four innings but rebounded nicely after allowing two runs to the first three hitters of the game.
“It was a struggle obviously in the beginning but I settled in pretty quickly and I thought it went well after that,” Weston said. “I was pretty fired up there in the first inning and just had to take a few deep breaths to calm down.”
Texas coach David Pierce came over to chat with Boise State coach Gary Van Tol during batting practice. After shaking hands, Pierce said, “You guys excited? It’s only been 40 years.”
Boise State athletic director Curt Apsey made the trip to witness the first game, as did Bob Schuler — the catcher on the Broncos’ last team in 1980.
Texas played a pair of home games earlier in the week but saved the traditional Opening Day festivities for Friday’s game with the Broncos. The players and coached lined up on the third base line and were introduced to the crowd before the game.
Boise State saved four baseballs from the game — the first pitch of the game, Weston’s first pitch, Weston’s first strikeout and the first hit from Yorke.
“In about the fourth inning we said ‘well all the firsts are gone, everybody has had their first college at-bat, so now let’s just play baseball and try to win a game’,” Yorke said.
As for being the answer to a trivia question as the first Boise State player to get a hit in 40 years, he said, “It was a pretty cool moment. I hope the guys that were part of the program back then got to enjoy that and I hope it was a cool moment for them.
“I don’t even think it has hit me yet. It was a very cool moment and the whole game was a pretty awesome experience.”
Texas got off to a quick start in the first inning when leadoff man Austin Todd reached on an infield single. A double from Duke Ellis put runners at second and third, and both scored on a double from DJ Petrinsky.
But Weston settled down, striking out the next two and getting a popup to escape the inning without further damage.
Boise State then put the first two runners on in the top of the second on a walk to Colin Montgomery and Yorke’s line drive single to right. But Cory Meyer struck out, Miles Harris grounded out to second and Grant Kerry struck out to keep the Broncos off the board.
“Really that was our only offensive opportunity all game,” Van Tol said. “If we could have put something together there and got at least one back, we would have had a little momentum. I thought that was a turning point early.”
Weston struck out two more in a perfect second inning, and worked around a leadoff hit in the third inning. A two-out bloop single to left from Cam Williams in the fourth inning scored Eric Kennedy and upped the Texas lead to 3-0. But he got out of the inning without further damage and left after reaching the 75-pitch limit Boise State’s starters are on in the opening weekend.
Texas added a run in the fifth off reliever Wesley Harper to take a 4-0 lead before scoring three runs off Ike Buxton in the eighth inning to extend the lead to 7-0.
“Things got a little out of hand there late, but it was a very historic night and now we know where we’re at,” Van Tol said. “People have been asking all along how good we were going to be, and this was our first measuring stick and now we can make our adjustments.
“It was a good opportunity for everybody to get their feet wet and shake off some cob webs and some nerves. Everybody was excited. It was nice to get the first one out of the way and now I want to see how the team responds. This one is over, so what can we learn from it and let’s come out (Saturday) and be ready to go.”
Boise State and Texas will play game two of the series Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will again be televised by the Longhorn Network.