Texas drops series opener to Kansas State

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Photo Credit: Amna Ijaz | Daily Texan Staff

It was a perfect evening for Longhorn fans at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

Except for the outcome.

Texas fell in game one of its three-game series against conference foe Kansas State, 6-4, on Friday. The Wildcats were able to knock around Texas starting pitcher Bryce Elder for two runs in the first inning and never looked back from there.

“Bryce was not his best early,” Texas head coach David Pierce said. “They did a great job of hitting mistakes, they did a great job of tacking on runs to continue to put pressure on us to play from behind. We just have to be a lot better as far as making pitches when it matters.”

Elder did not look like someone who has been named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week twice this season. Kansas State knocked around Elder for five runs, tying a career-high.

“He elevated the ball too much, (pitch) sequence might not have been there, I’ll have to take a look,” Pierce said. “He just wasn’t sharp and after the home run that (Chris) Ceballos hit. He threw some of his best pitches, so it could be a focus thing as well. He’s gotta be better than that, but we got to help him more. We have to do a better job offensively to manufacture runs when things aren’t going our way.”

After tonight’s loss, the Longhorn’s offense has scored just seven runs combined in the last two games after a streak of six straight games scoring five or more runs.

Despite the runs not scoring, Pierce still believes the team is seeing and hitting the ball well.

“I thought offensively we probably hit seven or eight line drives that were caught,” Pierce said. “Deep fly balls as well as line drives.”

After all, the Longhorns were able to knock around Kansas State pitcher Mitch Zubradt for three hits and two runs in his 0.1 innings of work. Coming into Friday’s ballgame, Zubradt had pitched in 16.2 innings and allowed zero runs and just two hits.

“If I said I wasn’t frustrated or we as a team weren’t frustrated, then we’re not human,” said Zach Zubia, who went 1-for-2 at the plate with a double and two walks. “But as much frustration that can come with hitting a hard ball to whoever, I think we need to understand that barrels are good for us and that’s what we need. (Hits) are going to fall, sometimes it feels like you’re playing with four outfielders out there.”

Texas falls to 4–5 in Big 12 conference play this season and will be entering must-win territory moving forward with Baylor, the No. 2 team in the conference, sitting above them at 6–3.