Texas starting rotation solid against Sooners despite 2-1 series loss

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Starting Rotation: The series against Oklahoma this past weekend turned out to be a low-scoring pitching duel. The Texas rotation starters kept pace all weekend with the Sooners’ staff, which sits atop the Big 12. Despite getting the loss in Game One on Friday night, sophomore Parker French had a strong showing while surrendering only two runs off five hits.

On Saturday, sophomore Dillon Peters pitched perhaps the best game of his collegiate career, turning in seven no-hit innings before finishing with only two hits in the shutout victory. On Sunday, Nathan Thornhill pitched a one-run, four-hit seven innings, fanning seven batters, tying his career high. Junior Corey Knebel, however, gave up three runs in the eighth to give the lead away. 

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Erich Weiss and Mark Payton: The two juniors have been the top offensive performers for the Longhorns all season. However, both Weiss and Payton turned in sub-par performances against the Sooners this past weekend. Despite being responsible for the Longhorns’ only two runs on Sunday afternoon with a two-RBI triple, Weiss went 3-for-12 against the Sooners, striking out seven times. Payton went 1-for-8 through three games with three strikeouts.

Weekend Breakdown:

Game One: Pitcher Jonathan Gray had a dominating game on the mound for the Sooners on Friday night in the 2-1 Game One Oklahoma victory. Gray had eight strikeouts and frustrated the Texas offense all evening. Sophomore Parker French was handed the loss after surrendering a run in the first and another in the sixth. The Longhorns’ only run of the ball game came in the third when freshman Mark Gottsacker scored on a wild pitch.

Game Two: The defensive battle continued as the game remained scoreless through five innings before a single by freshman Ben Johnson scored Gottsacker to put the Longhorns up permanently 1-0. Sophomore Dillon Peters pitched a solid game from the mound, producing seven no-hit innings before giving up two in the eighth. Junior Corey Knebel came in during the bottom of the eighth to get his seventh save of the season.

Game Three: Thornhill started for the Longhorns and pitched seven innings surrendering only one run and striking out seven. Knebel came in to close with the Longhorns up 2-1, but gave up three runs in the top of the eighth to hand Texas the 4-2 game three loss as well as the series loss. The Longhorns’ only two runs came in the third off a two-RBI triple by Weiss.  

Stats:

6: Straight conference losses for the Longhorns. The last Big 12 series picked up by Texas was a 2-1 victory over Kansas back in April of 2012.

7: Thornhill had seven strikeouts Sunday afternoon, which tied a career-high for the right-hander.

.389: Junior Mark Payton is currently hitting .389, down from .410 at the beginning of the month.