Texas held a lead in the eighth innings of all three games against TCU this weekend in Fort Worth.
They won just one of them.
The Longhorns blew an eighth inning lead Sunday afternoon and ended up losing 12-8 in the series finale. The defeat results in the Longhorns’ first Big 12 series loss since West Virginia last season on April 29.
“We gave the ballgame away,” Texas head coach David Pierce said in his postgame interview with Texas Sports. “(I) made an emotional decision on a (pitching change) and got them started.”
The emotional decision Pierce alluded to was to insert Kamron Fields into the ballgame in the fifth inning when the Longhorns led 5-1 after Fields was responsible for the Longhorns’ blown lead Friday evening.
Fields allowed a three-run home run to cut the Horned Frogs’ deficit to 7–5 and put some life back in the bats of the TCU lineup.
“You put your faith in guys, which is probably a dumb mistake to go there,” Pierce said. “After that, we just allowed them to handle to the momentum, and that’s how the ballgame ended.”
The Longhorns led 8-7 entering the bottom of the eighth inning, but Cole Quintanilla, Kolby Kubichek and the Longhorn defense were unable to preserve the lead.
TCU sent 10 men to the plate and added five runs in the eighth inning to take a 12-8 lead. In the final frame, the Longhorns went three-up, three-down to conclude the Horned Frogs’ comeback and series win.
In the first game of the series, TCU was shutout through eight innings by starting pitcher Bryce Elder. In the ninth inning, however, Elder hit the first batter of the game and Fields failed to keep a grip on the lead which allowed TCU to walk-off the Longhorns and take game one.
Texas recovered nicely the following day with a 13-1 blowout victory. Starting pitcher Blair Henley had his best outing of the season, striking out six batters and allowing just one run in six innings of work.
The two losses against TCU sends the Longhorns’ season record to 17–10 and 3–3 in Big 12 play.
It is quite likely these two losses will come back to bite the Longhorns in the rear when the race for the Big 12 regular season title begins to heat up.
Last season when Texas won the Big 12 regular season title, the Longhorns finished with a record of 17–7 in conference play. Yet, just six games into conference play in 2019, Texas has almost half as many losses and is still yet to play No. 25 Oklahoma and Baylor, who is off to a 16–6 start to the season.
The Longhorns return to action on Tuesday in San Antonio against Incarnate Word.
Texas will have a bad taste in its mouth until its next conference series against Baylor that begins on April 5th.