AUSTIN, Texas - Nathan Thornhill and Corey Knebel combined on a three-hit shutout and second baseman Brooks Marlow hit a pair of home runs as No. 13 Texas defeated Duke 4-0 in the 2012 season opener at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
Thornhill (1-0) earned the win after holding the Blue Devils to three hits in five innings of work. He had two strikeouts and one walk on the afternoon. Knebel picked up his first save of the season after striking out two in two scoreless frames.
Duke starter Marcus Stroman (0-1) suffered the loss after allowing three runs on four hits in five innings. The junior right-hander had three strikeouts but issued a career-high six walks.
Stroman worked out of an early jam in the bottom of the first. After retiring right fielder Mark Payton on a groundout to second, center fielder Tim Maitland singled to left center. A Duke error gave Texas runners on first and second with one out. Stroman then got left fielder Jonathan Walsh to pop out to shortstop and designated hitter Landon Steinhagen to ground out to short to end the inning.
Stroman got out of another jam in the bottom half of the third. With runners on first and second and only one out, Stroman got Steinhagen to ground into an inning-ending double play. Steinhagen sent a groundball to third and third baseman Jordan Betts tagged the base before throwing over to first to end the frame.
Texas took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth on a leadoff solo home run by Marlow. Marlow poked a 2-1 pitch just over the wall down the right field line for the first run of the game. The Longhorns would load the bases later on in the inning but Stroman got third baseman Erich Weiss to pop out to second to end the frame.
Marlow added a one-out, two-run homer to right center in the bottom of the fifth to push the Longhorn lead to 3-0.
As the game went into the bottom of the sixth, rain started falling, causing a 30-minute delay.
Payton added an RBI-triple in the bottom of the sixth to extend the Texas lead to 4-0. The Longhorns would later have runners on the corners with one out. Duke junior righty Chase Bebout would get out of the inning without allowing another run, getting Walsh to pop out to short and Steinhagen to line out to right.
Marlow led the Longhorns at the plate, finishing 2-for-3 with the two homers. Payton, Maitland and first baseman Kirby Bellow all added hits for Texas.
Game two of today's doubleheader will start at 6 p.m. (CST). Freshman LHP Trent Swart will start game two against Texas lefty Hoby Milner. Tomorrow's series finale will begin at 1 p.m. (CST). Sophomore RHP Robert Huber is slated to start for Duke against Texas RHP John Curtiss on Sunday.