A full crowd received plenty of souvenirs after 16 foul balls reached the stands at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in just the first inning of Texas’ match up with Texas Tech on Saturday.
But Longhorn fans hoped more of those foul balls reached the fair side of the field for Texas batters during a second straight 2-1 loss to the Red Raiders.
“We’ve been playing pretty good lately these past two days against Texas Tech,” redshirt junior pitcher Morgan Cooper said. “We didn’t play bad, we just came up short. It sucks.”
Despite scoring a run during the first inning on an error by the Red Raider defense, the Longhorns couldn’t gather a hit through the first four innings of the game. The team finished with four hits in the game and remained scoreless after the first inning.
With runners on second and third base during the seventh inning, Texas hoped to pull off a late-game rally for its first win in the weekend series. But Red Raider pitcher Jacob Patterson chased the Longhorns away with three consecutive strikeouts to end the inning with the 2-1 Texas Tech lead still intact.
“In that situation, we really need to stay relaxed and put the pressure back on the pitcher,” head coach David Pierce said. “He was very calm and in control and he made pitches. We had pitches to hit right then. We just didn’t get it done.”
During the following inning, Pierce brought in his best batter redshirt sophomore catcher Michael McCann — who is hitting a team-best .458 — to pinch hit with two runners on base. However, McCann played into a fielder’s choice and stranded both baserunners to end the inning.
“When you leave ten guys on base in clutch situations against a very good, seasoned team, that’s what we get,” Pierce said.
Pierce recognizes his team’s youth as a factor in coming up short against a veteran Texas Tech ballclub.
“That’s a seasoned team, that’s a team that’s been to Omaha,” Pierce said. “We’re a team trying to get back to Omaha. There’s some veteran moves that were made on the field and we tightened up at home plate. We have to just understand we’re young, we’re going to make some mistakes but at the same time, we’ve got to take the pressure off of ourselves.”
But as a veteran himself, Cooper can’t accept his team’s youth as an excuse for falling short to the Red Raiders.
“I don’t think we’re young,” Cooper said. “They were just one run better. Yeah, they’ve been to Omaha, I’ve been to Omaha. That doesn’t matter. We’re out here playing baseball. … I don’t care what they’ve done, we’ve just got to win.”
Although Cooper threw 5.2 scoreless innings for the Longhorns, a two-run blemish in the third inning costed him the game. Cooper picked up his first loss of the season during his nine-strikeout outing.
After two straight one-run losses to the Red Raiders, the Longhorns look to bounce back Sunday to avoid getting swept in their first series of conference play.
“It comes down to who wants it,” Cooper said. “Do we want to sit back and get swept, or do we want to put our foot down and say we’re not getting swept at home? ... I know everybody in there is hungry and everybody wants to win so I guess we’ll see tomorrow.”