California completes four-game sweep as Longhorns collapse in ninth inning

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Junior first baseman Kacy Clemens attempts to make contact with a pitch against California.

Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

So much for silver linings. 

Despite dropping the opening three games of the weekend to California, Texas seemed poised to end the series on a high note Sunday, entering the top of the ninth up 7-2.

But the Longhorns fell apart in the ninth, sending the game to extras tied at 7-7. The Longhorns eventually lost 10-7 in eleven innings, completing the four-game sweep for California. It marked the first-ever four-game sweep in the Longhorns’ 122-year history.

“I’m not sure I love baseball,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “It’s really cruel. It’s a tough mistress, boy.”

Kacy Clemens seemed to blow the game open in the fifth. With men on first and third, the junior first baseman tattooed a California fastball, unleashing it over the right field fence. The three-run shot was Clemens’ second of the series, and his sixth RBI of the season. 

But Texas’ lead wouldn’t last.

California started the ninth inning rally in seemingly innocuous fashion. Two singles started the frame, but were followed by two consecutive outs. Up 7-2 with the outs, the wheels fell off. 

Three singles accompanied by a walk brought the score to 7-6 Longhorns. California freshman infielder Ripken Reyes grounded a ball deep in the hole, which was fielded by shortstop Bret Boswell. Boswell fired the ball across the infield to first, but Clemens couldn’t hold on. 

After Clemens’ drop, California’s lead runner dashed toward the plate, beating the throw at home by a hair. The collapse was complete.

“Things didn’t bounce the way we wanted them to,” junior designated hitter Tres Barrera said. “There are going to be some growing pains with this team.” 

A barrage of singles in the eleventh gave California its first lead of the game. The Bears took a 10-7 lead it would never relinquish, as Texas went down meekly in the inning’s
bottom half.  

The Longhorns’ inability to field the ball cost them throughout the weekend, most notably in Sunday’s ninth inning. Texas ended the series with four errors, and many other makeable plays that were missed, leading to additional runners on base. 

“I don’t know why [we’re struggling],” Barrera said. “If I had the answers I’d tell you. But we’ve got to keep moving forward.”

The Longhorns slumped to the locker room as California stormed the field at the conclusion of the contest. Garrido addressed his team for 50 minutes following Saturday’s loss, but took little time on Sunday.

“This is obviously the most difficult game of all to lose,” Garrido said. “But in reality, it was a much better game. We did much better offensively and looked a lot more like ourselves.”

Garrido is ever the optimist. But Sunday was nothing short of a meltdown, end of story.