Saturday afternoon, for the third consecutive day, the No. 6 Longhorns found themselves in the middle of a pitching duel. And, just like the first two, the Longhorns came out on the losing end, falling 3-1 as TCU completed a series sweep in front of the largest crowd of the season at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
“When you score one in three games, you don’t win many of them,” head coach Augie Garrido said.
The Longhorns (30-11, 9-6 Big 12) had their chance in the ninth, as they loaded the bases with just one out. But freshman DH Andy McGuire grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
“It stings,” senior center fielder Mark Payton said. “We have a lot of heart, a lot of passion. We are going to bounce back from this.”
Senior Nathan Thornhill (6-1) and his .78 ERA pitched well for the Longhorns in a losing effort. In 6.2 innings, Thornhill allowed just five hits and two runs. Thornhill looked nearly unstoppable through five innings.
After that, Thornhill began to get in trouble. He got out of a 30-pitch sixth unscathed, but the momentum carried over into the seventh. A one-out RBI double by Dylan Fitzgerald tied the game up at one, and a two-out single brought him home to give TCU (26-13, 10-4 Big 12) the lead for good.
While Thornhill was dealing on the mound for the Longhorns, Tyler Alexander held his own for TCU. He allowed just six hits in his five innings and surrendered just one run. The bullpen for the Horned Frogs then shut out the Longhorns to protect the win.
“I saw two good pitching staffs going after each other,” Thornhill said.
Texas’ only score came in the first on junior right fielder Collin Shaw’s RBI dribbler down the line to give Texas its first and only run of the series.
That was all the Longhorns would get as they fell from their previous Big 12 standings.
“Losing three games hurts you,” Garrido said. “We had a chance to control our own destiny.”
In the second game of the series Friday night, the Longhorns were shut out 2-0 by TCU’s pitching staff. Preston Morrison went seven scoreless, allowing just four hits for the Longhorns.
Junior pitcher Dillon Peters got the nod for Texas and went 6.2 innings, allowing eight hits and two runs. But he got no support from his offense who was shut out for the second straight game. Payton, however, did extend his nation-leading 80-game reach-base streak with a walk Friday and hit Saturday.
The Longhorns continue Tuesday against UT-Pan American before a crucial match-up against Big 12-leading Oklahoma State (29-11, 11-4 Big 12).