Longhorns struggle to capitalize on loaded bases against Stanford

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Junior outfielder Ben Johnson knew the Longhorns need to be ready for Stanford’s experienced pitching staff.

Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

Three times the Longhorns had the bases loaded — and each time, the Longhorns finished the inning with zero runs.

Meanwhile, Stanford drilled two home runs of its own as Texas struggled to capitalize with runners in scoring position, leading to a 5–3 Longhorn defeat in Palo Alto on Thursday night.

After Stanford (8–6) took the lead on back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the second, junior outfield Ben Johnson launched a two-run home run to left field to give No. 12 Texas (8–5) a 2–1 lead in the top of the third.

The Cardinals came back in the bottom of the inning, striking on a three-run home run by freshman third baseman Mikey Diekroeger to take a 4–2 lead. Stanford added another in the following inning on a solo home run by junior designated hitter Austin Barr.

Johnson pulled the Longhorns back to within two runs with a solo home run in the top of the fifth.

Texas had a chance to tie and take the lead in the ninth. Junior shortstop C.J Hinojosa led off the inning with a double and then scored on a wild pitch with two outs. Two walks and a single then loaded the bases for junior designated hitter Taylor Stell.

But Stell’s line drive on an 0–2 count was snagged by the second baseman to end the game.

The rest of the team struggled to capitalize on run-scoring opportunities. Texas went 3-for-20 with runners in scoring position, although only Johnson’s first home run resulted in a run scoring. The team also left 11 batters on base.

The Longhorns had the bases loaded with only one out in the top of the fourth; however, sophomore center fielder Zane Gurwitz and Stell each struck out to squander the opportunity. Texas had bases loaded again in the top of the sixth after three consecutive walks but failed to capitalize as senior right fielder Collin Shaw struck out to end the inning.

Junior starting pitcher Chad Hollingsworth, making his first start in almost two weeks, went five innings, giving up six hits and three walks in addition to the five runs.

The loss is the third-straight defeat after the Longhorns had won seven-straight games.

Texas and Stanford will square off at 8 p.m. tonight before finishing the series with games Saturday and Sunday afternoon.