Junior pitcher Lukas Schiraldi struggled to find the zone Tuesday night, and the Longhorns paid for it.
No. 7 Texas (26-8, 6-3 Big 12) fell to No. 21 Rice (23-12) 7-2 in the second meeting between the teams in the last week. Schiraldi had delivery problems early in the game before being chased after allowing seven runs on 10 hits in 4.1 innings.
“I’m not sure [Schiraldi] didn’t have better stuff this time than when he pitched down there,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “It’s just that they were ready, man. They hit the balls hard and must have had six or seven right over second base. But really, it was about them outplaying us.”
Rice jumped out to an early lead with an RBI single in the top of the second inning before Texas answered in the bottom half. The Owls scored again in the third and held the 2-1 lead until things went south for the Longhorns’ pitching staff.
Schiraldi surrendered three runs in the top of the fifth before being relieved by sophomore pitcher Travis Duke with the bases still loaded and only one out. Two batters and two runs later, Duke was relieved by sophomore pitcher Chad Hollingsworth who got Texas out of the inning after five runs and five hits from the Owls.
The Longhorns’ first run of the game came in the second inning when freshman third baseman Zane Gurwitz grounded out to first to score senior infielder Madison Carter. Texas’ lone hit came in the fifth inning on a RBI single by sophomore left fielder Ben Johnson.
The 13 hits by the Owls were the most Texas has given up in a game all season. In addition, Texas’ one hit was the least it has produced in a game this year.
“Their pitchers did a great job tonight and they kept us off balance,” senior center fielder Mark Payton said. “They pitched backwards and really did a good job.”
The loss marked the second time Texas has lost in its last 13 contests, and the first time it has lost in its last 13 Tuesday night games dating back to last season.
“They have to realize that there’s no days off when you’re the Longhorns,” Garrido said.
The Longhorns will head to Norman, Okla., this weekend and try to regain conference momentum against the Sooners.