For two weeks, the Longhorns have been looking for a spark to get on track.
Instead, they got more of the same against Sam Houston State on Tuesday night.
The Longhorns failed to score for just the second time this season, only managing three hits. Meanwhile, the Bearkats took advantage of their opportunities with big innings in the fourth and seventh to leave Austin with a 5–0 win.
“We were flat,” head coach Augie Garrido said.
The struggles began early for the Longhorns (19–18), who were coming off of a rough showing against Oklahoma this weekend. Texas batters went down in order in the first three innings, which included two strikeouts looking.
Senior second baseman Brooks Marlow made sure the Longhorns wouldn’t fall victim to the perfect game with a one-out double in the fourth, but his team left him stranded after the next two batters each grounded out to first base.
The Longhorns only got the leadoff batter on base once — in the ninth inning — something the team had been doing early in the season.
“It causes us to put pressure on ourselves,” junior center fielder Ben Johnson said.
Texas finished the game going down in order five times. Sam Houston State junior reliever Jordan Church needed just 10 pitches to retire the side in the seventh and only eight in the eighth.
Texas pitching, which had kept the team in most of the games in the slump, also had a bad night. Sophomore starter Josh Sawyer labored through the first three innings on 56 pitches and then gave up two runs in the fourth, one of which came on a wild pitch.
The bullpen then ran into trouble in the seventh. With two outs in the inning, junior pitcher Travis Duke gave up four-straight hits, allowing Sam Houston State (20–19) to plate another three runs.
“When [Sam Houston State] got the two that was one issue, but when they got the three other ones, it made it a different game,”
The loss is Texas’ 10th defeat in the past 12 games and the first time the Longhorns were shutout at home since April 18 last year against TCU.
That loss came at a similar point for the Longhorns, who at that time lost three straight Big 12 series. Garrido said the trick this season is for the team to experience success again.
“They’re still that same person,” Garrido said. “We’re trying to get them to be the ball players that they are.”
The Longhorns will hit the road for a three-game series at Kansas beginning Friday.
Even with all of the recent struggles at the plate, Garrido said that he still believes in his players going forward.
“I think it’s in there, and it can come out,” Garrido said. “I think it’s a matter of confidence.”