Things sure looked good after two-and-a-half innings for Texas. The lead was 3-0, and Taylor Jungmann, who had yet to give up a hit, would be returning to the mound.
Five runs, four walks, three hits, a wild pitch, a hit batter and many poorly placed pitches later, Jungmann was out of the game, Florida had a lead, and the Longhorns looked out of it.
Today is a new day and a new game; one against another traditional baseball powerhouse in North Carolina. It’s hard to resist taking one last look at Texas’ 8-4 loss to Florida.
Though he had lost two straight postseason games before Saturday night, not too many people actually expected Jungmann’s struggles to continue. Against Florida, he looked like a ghost of himself. His pitching mechanics were poor, he couldn’t consistently repeat his arm angle, he threw seven straight balls at one point and he had no command of any of his usually nasty breaking pitches.
“Around the third inning I got out of rhythm and made some bad pitches,” Jungmann said. “I walked a lot of people and that’s something I don’t usually do.”
Head coach Augie Garrido joked that Jungmann being given a three-run lead screwed everything up, because “he’s not supposed to have run support” — a tongue-in-cheek reference to Texas’ offensive struggles.
There was still a chance even after Jungmann departed the game, as the Longhorns were behind just one run. Andrew McKirahan and Nathan Thornhill struggled in relief, combining to give up three runs. Kendal Carrillo’s performance was a bright spot, who went 1.1 innings without giving up a hit. But danger lurks in every spot of Florida’s powerful lineup, and Texas could not have afforded any pitching struggles.
“We played a below-average game against a very good team and they had the ability to capitalize on it and penalize us severely,” Garrido said.
The Longhorns scored four runs Saturday night, but three of them were flukes. The first two hitters of the third inning reached base on errors, and the team only had two hits in the inning. Florida’s starting pitcher Hudson Randall buckled down, at one point retiring 10 straight hitters.
“Once he got the lead back, he became more competitive and found his rhythm,” Garrido said. “He took charge of the game.”
Against a shirking strike zone, Randall was able to throw three different pitches for strikes.
“He’s been good all year. He throws a lot of strikes,” Brandon Loy said. “We hit some balls hard, it just didn’t go our way.”
Published on Monday, June 20, 2011 as: Bullpen's shortcomings push Horns to the edge