A circle of burnt orange uniforms kneeled near the home side dugout before Texas’ final game against No. 6 Texas Tech on Sunday.
Every player in the huddle shared one goal: to overcome the traces of back-to-back, one-run losses to the Red Raiders during the first two games of the series.
But the morale drained from the Longhorn dugout after Tech delivered a four-run gash in the fourth inning of the 8-5 Red Raider win.
“It’s just growing pains,” head coach David Pierce said. “We’ve got to continue to grow. When you look at our team, they’re still trying to learn how to win. When you face teams like we’ve faced this week, you can’t afford to make any mistakes and they capitalize.”
After sweeping UCLA last weekend at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, the Longhorns returned to the comfort of their home field to host Tech in their first series of conference play this season. But the Red Raiders arrived on the 40 Acres to complete their own series sweep at the Longhorns’ expense.
“Texas Tech is a lot better than us right now and we’ve got to improve,” Pierce said. “The one thing I think that we do really have is some resilience. There’s nobody in that clubhouse giving up, it’s really really early.”
The Longhorns picked up three runs early in the game and held a 3-1 lead by the end of the second inning. However, Texas Tech delivered six unanswered runs and took the lead at 7-3 after a four-run fourth inning.
The Red Raiders chased freshman starting pitcher Blair Henley off the mound during their dominant fourth inning rally and proceeded to score two more runs on junior reliever Kyle Johnston before he could stop the bleeding.
“They’re a very solid ball club,” Pierce said. “They don’t give you anything — you have to earn it. They pitched really well and they swung their bats really well today. They fight with two strikes and that’s something that separates them with some other teams.”
Despite the sunny weather, Red Raider batters rained on Texas with 15 hits throughout the game, including two solo homeruns. Freshman third baseman Josh Jung collected three base hits and a walk while scoring two runs for Tech. The Longhorn offense couldn’t match Tech’s production at the plate and ended the game with only four hits.
“We’ve just got to hit better,” senior first baseman Kacy Clemens said. “Our hitters are putting pressure on ourselves. We’re all trying to be great and get the job done. When it doesn’t happen, it’s easy to press in this game.”
After the first look at Big 12 play, the Longhorns sit at the bottom of the conference (0–3 Big 12) and hold a 13–9 overall record.
“It’s just frustrating because we know how good we are and in the win and loss column right now it’s not showing that,” Clemens said.