A postseason appearance by the Texas Longhorns in 2019 is now very unlikely.
Texas blew a three-run lead twice in Sunday’s 10-6 loss. Poor pitching and a lack of timely hitting was the downfall for what has been an abysmal weekend in Lawrence, Kansas, for Texas head coach David Pierce and his squad.
“We had a base running mistake,” Pierce said in an postgame interview with Texas Sports. “We didn’t catch a pop-up from our shortstop going into left field. You piece all of that together with some really poor 0-2, 1-2, pitches and you know, that’s how you get swept. When you are on the road, you’ve got to still play all three phases to have a shot to win.”
When splitting the series finale and the entire season into thirds, there are some glaring parallels in what has become one of the Longhorns’ most disappointing seasons in recent history.
The first two innings in Sunday’s ballgame saw the Longhorns take a 3-0 lead. Morale was riding high, similar to the feeling of the sweep over then-No. 1 LSU at home.
“They came out and had some good at bats,” Pierce said. “We got a break there when they didn’t turn the double play, and we capitalized on it. This is a great league, and we’ve got a lot to improve, there is no doubt.”
Texas starting pitcher Ty Madden allowed three runs in the bottom of the second inning and it became a brand new game, just as Stanford previously took three of four games against the Longhorns in Stanford, California, to immediately erase the high of the LSU series.
As the midway point of the season began, the Longhorns were trying to find out what exactly the team would be this season.
It began with Texas going 4–4 in eight straight games against ranked opponents, then sweeping Xavier on a wild weekend. Things were still looking good with talks of hosting a regional still prevalent.
Just as Texas found momentum with the sweep over Xavier, a double by shortstop Bryce Reagan in the top of the fourth regained the lead and spirits in the visiting dugout.
The following inning, Texas added to the lead with runs with a two-run home run by third baseman Ryan Reynolds. Just like that, it was 6-3 in favor of the Longhorns.
However, that lead did not last long. Madden struggled mightily in the bottom of the fifth inning, and Kansas took back all of the momentum with four runs in the inning.
“(Madden) was behind most of the game,” Pierce said. “Just putting away guys with his breaking ball or being able to make an 0-2 or 1-2 pitch (was difficult), and that was the biggest issue for him today.”
The final three innings of Sunday’s game — like the last month of the schedule — were easily the most difficult.
Kansas scored three runs in the bottom half of the eighth inning to extend the lead to 10-6. The wheels had officially fallen off the wagon. Not only on Sunday, but for the entire season.
Texas is now in last place in the conference with a 6–14 record in Big 12 play. Making the postseason conference tournament now appears extremely unlikely with just one conference series remaining.
If there is any resolution present for the Longhorns, the season is almost over.