Stanford

With two outs in the top of the first on Saturday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, Stanford plopped an innocent fly ball to center field.

What looked like a routine fly ball dropped in between three Longhorn defenders — none of whom signaled for the ball — and led to the Cardinal scoring their first run of the game.

Texas would get out of the inning without any further damage, but the mistake set the tone and got things rolling for Stanford early in what turned out be a lopsided 9-3 loss for the No. 23 Longhorns.

“It did (affect us mentally),” Texas head coach David Pierce said. “We just had a communication breakdown. David (Hamilton) has to keep going when an outfielder doesn’t call him off, and Kam (Fields) just got a poor read. It was just a poorly played ball.”

The No. 7 Cardinal jumped out to a big lead in the second. Sophomore pitcher Blair Henley struggled with his control in the frame, walking two batters and hitting another. Stanford capitalized, notching four runs in the inning thanks to a triplet of singles.

Texas (9–6) made things more interesting in the bottom of the fourth.

Junior infielder Masen Hibbeler got things started with a deep double to left field, and junior infielder Kody Clemens followed with a walk. Freshman designated hitter Zach Zubia took advantage, launching a home run over the left-field wall to pull Texas within 5-3. Texas proceeded to load the bases but failed to induce any more damage in the inning.

But outside of a fourth inning in which Texas recorded four hits, Texas was quiet. The team was shutout in eight innings, managing only three hits.

Despite the lack of success against one of the top pitching units in the country, Pierce thought the team did well enough against Stanford’s starter Erik Miller to win the game.

“They threw some great arms at us. They had Miller going up to 97 MPH with good stuff,” Pierce said. “I don’t like our results against him, but we got him out of the game. We put ourselves in a position to have a shot in the middle of the game.”

Stanford put the game on ice in the ninth inning, dashing any hopes of a Longhorn comeback. The Cardinal rocked junior pitcher Beau Ridgeway, going on a four-run spurt that was highlighted by a booming three-run home run over right field.

Henley came into the game sporting a 0.53 ERA but had a disappointing outing statistically. The sophomore gave up five earned runs on five hits and walked four batters in six innings.

However, Pierce commended his pitcher’s ability to bounce back from a rough start.

“The third through the sixth (inning) I loved him,” Pierce said. “He was ticked off and he got in attack mode. He let some calls affect him early, but he overcame it. He didn’t give up anything else.”

Texas has one last game remaining against Stanford on Sunday at 1 p.m. and will look get a series split.

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.