Zach Zubia

Photo Credit: Brooke Crim | Daily Texan Staff

In a very different looking ball game from Thursday night, Texas struggled to get anything going offensively or on the mound against No. 7 Stanford on Friday. Once Stanford took the lead in the first inning, it never looked back and finished off a 7-1 drubbing of the No. 23 Longhorns at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

Texas (9–5) struggled all night to put the bat on the ball, recording only six hits. Compared to the Longhorns, the Cardinal put on a show with 13 hits.

Redshirt freshman Zach Zubia said afterward that the focus is all on Saturday’s game now.

“We’ve got to come back tomorrow, grind out at-bats tomorrow and hopefully come out with a W tomorrow,” Zubia said. “You never want to be satisfied with a loss. As a team, we’re going to come out tomorrow hopefully clear-minded. I have full faith in this team that we’ll get over this.”

After the loss, Texas head coach David Pierce didn’t look shocked. He didn’t gasp for air. Frankly, he didn’t even seem too surprised.

With a guy like Stanford’s Kris Bubic on the mound, all Pierce could do was just shake his head and give Bubic credit.

Bubic’s stats coming into Friday night’s game included a 2–0 record, a 1.56 ERA and an opponent batting average of .180. The lefty’s Friday night was virtually flawless, as Bubic went for six whole innings, allowed three hits and let up only one run.

“Just a tough one,” Pierce said. “I thought Bubic was as advertised. He was very good tonight. We had minimum opportunities. We knew that we weren’t going to have a ton of them. So when we get those chances, we have to come up with a clutch hit.”

Pierce, who acknowledged that the Longhorns realistically only had two chances to score over the course of the game, mostly chalked up the loss to the impressive performance by the red-hot Bubic. But Pierce also gave some of the blame to his starting pitcher, junior Nolan Kingham.

Kingham, who moved to 2–2, has struggled in his last three outings. After lighting up the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns in the season opener, Kingham has since been very pedestrian. In each of his last two starts — LSU and Northwestern — the Longhorns have ended up with another tally in the loss column.

Friday night’s performance was all too familiar for Kingham. He left the game after six innings, having allowed 10 hits and five earned runs while only managing to strike out three. Pierce has seen the struggles and said he knows which areas Kingham needs to improve in.

“(Kingham) left the ball up,” Pierce said. “And with his best two pitches, he’s got to get the ball down. He’s got to get committed this week to really getting into his legs a little more, getting out to his front side. It’s a good test for him. He hasn’t been as sharp as his opening night. We’ve got to get him right.”

The season is still young, so all hope for Kingham to return to his ace form is not lost — at least not yet.

Texas and Stanford return to Disch-Falk Field on Saturday for the third game of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

Texas and Northwestern were practically equals in the hitting department Friday night, and the Longhorns walked twice as often. But the Wildcats took advantage of runners on the bags — something the Longhorns failed to do — and that proved to be the difference in a 6-2 loss for Texas.

The Longhorns left 10 runners on the bases, while Northwestern left only four.

“We need to work better as a team together,” redshirt junior catcher Michael McCann said. “We got runners on base early and we pop out and roll early and we don’t get the runners in. We start out hot, but we don’t capitalize. It’s really frustrating and we have to grind out at bats early.”

Northwestern struck first. After getting through his first three batters unblemished, junior pitcher Chase Shugart walked a Wildcat to open the second. After Shugart gave up his first hit of the contest, Northwestern singled to score the game’s first run.

But like they’ve done at home all season, Texas was quick to rally back. In the bottom of the third, sophomore outfielder Duke Ellis hit a single to send McCann to second after McCann had walked. After a Northwestern error loaded the bases, McCann scored on a groundout to first from junior Kody Clemens.

But the wheels fell off for Shugart and the Longhorns in the fifth. The pitcher hit two batters in the frame and gave up a pair of hits. Northwestern capitalized on the junior’s control issues and jumped out to a 3-1 advantage.

The Longhorns added a run in the bottom of the fifth, but Shugart’s continued issues would keep the game out of reach. Against the first batter of the sixth, Shugart gave up a monster home run to left field. He then surrendered a single and, following an error and a wild pitch, the runner reached third. A batter latter, Northwestern recorded a sac-fly to extend its lead to 5-2.

“When (Shugart) got the ball down, he was really good,” head coach David Pierce said. “But when they had (runners on base), his peripheral couldn’t handle the running game and he got the ball up. Once he got the ball up, (Northwestern) took advantage of it.”

The Wildcats added another run in the ninth inning, and the Longhorns never threatened any further.

Texas finished with seven hits but struggled with strikeouts. The team struck out nine times compared to only five walks. Redshirt freshman infielder Zach Zubia paced the offense, finishing 2-for-3 with an RBI and also reached on a walk.

The starting pitching for the Longhorns was shakier than it has been for most of the season. Shugart surrendered five earned runs and gave up six hits. However, the relief put forth a solid outing, with freshman Bryce Elder and redshirt junior Josh Sawyer combining for three two-hit innings.

Texas will get multiple shots at redemption tomorrow, when they take on the Wildcats in a Saturday double-header. The first game is schedule for 1:30 p.m. at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

“We’ve got three games in two days and they’ve got all the momentum,” Pierce said. “We need everybody to be ready and do their job when they’re called on. Tonight, we just didn’t get it done, and it’s that simple.”