With two outs in the top of the first on Saturday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, Stanford plopped an innocent fly ball to center field.
What looked like a routine fly ball dropped in between three Longhorn defenders — none of whom signaled for the ball — and led to the Cardinal scoring their first run of the game.
Texas would get out of the inning without any further damage, but the mistake set the tone and got things rolling for Stanford early in what turned out be a lopsided 9-3 loss for the No. 23 Longhorns.
“It did (affect us mentally),” Texas head coach David Pierce said. “We just had a communication breakdown. David (Hamilton) has to keep going when an outfielder doesn’t call him off, and Kam (Fields) just got a poor read. It was just a poorly played ball.”
The No. 7 Cardinal jumped out to a big lead in the second. Sophomore pitcher Blair Henley struggled with his control in the frame, walking two batters and hitting another. Stanford capitalized, notching four runs in the inning thanks to a triplet of singles.
Texas (9–6) made things more interesting in the bottom of the fourth.
Junior infielder Masen Hibbeler got things started with a deep double to left field, and junior infielder Kody Clemens followed with a walk. Freshman designated hitter Zach Zubia took advantage, launching a home run over the left-field wall to pull Texas within 5-3. Texas proceeded to load the bases but failed to induce any more damage in the inning.
But outside of a fourth inning in which Texas recorded four hits, Texas was quiet. The team was shutout in eight innings, managing only three hits.
Despite the lack of success against one of the top pitching units in the country, Pierce thought the team did well enough against Stanford’s starter Erik Miller to win the game.
“They threw some great arms at us. They had Miller going up to 97 MPH with good stuff,” Pierce said. “I don’t like our results against him, but we got him out of the game. We put ourselves in a position to have a shot in the middle of the game.”
Stanford put the game on ice in the ninth inning, dashing any hopes of a Longhorn comeback. The Cardinal rocked junior pitcher Beau Ridgeway, going on a four-run spurt that was highlighted by a booming three-run home run over right field.
Henley came into the game sporting a 0.53 ERA but had a disappointing outing statistically. The sophomore gave up five earned runs on five hits and walked four batters in six innings.
However, Pierce commended his pitcher’s ability to bounce back from a rough start.
“The third through the sixth (inning) I loved him,” Pierce said. “He was ticked off and he got in attack mode. He let some calls affect him early, but he overcame it. He didn’t give up anything else.”
Texas has one last game remaining against Stanford on Sunday at 1 p.m. and will look get a series split.