The Longhorn bullpen struggled during Sunday’s 10-3 loss to Oklahoma State, surrendering seven runs in fewer than four innings. But the Texas bullpen came back Tuesday night and bailed out a struggling offense with five shutout innings en route to a 2-1 win over visiting Oral Roberts.
“The ballpark’s made for these types of games,” said Texas head coach Augie Garrido. “We’ve got to have grit and the mentality to win these games.”
Garrido said he wanted to throw some of the guys who had poor outings on Sunday back in and see how they’d respond. Andrew McKirahan gave up two runs and didn’t get a Cowboy batter out on Sunday, but the left hander only gave up one hit in 1.1 innings of relief against the Golden Eagles. The junior also struck out one, lowering his ERA to 3.27 on the season.
The Longhorns used three pitchers in the seventh inning to cut an Oral Roberts rally that threatened Texas’ 2-1 lead. Corey Knebel, who normally pitches the ninth inning for Texas, entered after Kirby Bellow and gave up consecutive two-out singles and got the Longhorns out of trouble.
“We worked together today,” Knebel said. “Sunday was a mess and we just need to work to put that behind us, and that’s what we did today.”
Knebel picked up his sixth save of the season, but it wasn’t perfect. The freshman lacked command with his curveball, which could be attributed to the colder wind blowing Tuesday night.
“It wasn’t really there for me today,” Knebel said. “I didn’t know what was going on — it got me kind of mad.”
Despite the lack of control, Knebel walked one and gave up only one hit, a single to shortstop Cam Schiller in the eighth inning.
“When that stuff happens, I just get upset and it helps me do better on the next batter,” he said.
Texas’ closer struck out three batters, bringing his total for the season to 29, which is tied for fourth on the team and first among relievers.