In a four-game tilt that began with promise, Texas lost the series finale to No. 7 Stanford in embarrassing fashion on Sunday afternoon at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. The Longhorns got pummeled, 11-1.
After winning the first game of the series on Thursday night, the No. 23 Longhorns (9–7) dropped three straight to Stanford, their longest losing streak of the young season.
“We’re embarrassed right now,” Texas head coach David Pierce said. “We had great fan support all weekend and we just didn’t play well. You can’t get by with mistakes and opportunities when they arise against good teams. We didn’t capitalize on anything all weekend.”
As in the previous two games, Stanford snatched the momentum in the first inning. An error by the Longhorns allowed the Cardinal’s leadoff batter to reach first, and junior pitcher Chase Shugart proceeded to give up a single. Two batters later, Shugart gave up a deep home run to left field, a blast that stole the life from a packed Disch-Falk Field and gave Stanford a 3-0 lead.
Texas never recovered. The Longhorns failed to reach base until the seventh inning and finished with a season-low two hits.
“I thought their pitcher pitched well, but we were very undisciplined at home plate,” Pierce said. “We had a really poor approach for the type of weather we were playing in. That’s the bottom line.”
Things got ugly in the sixth. In a poor showing on the mound, the Longhorns shuffled through three different pitchers and gave up six runs on only two hits. In total, there were five walks, two wild pitches and a hit batter in the inning.
Pierce was disappointed in his team’s lack of composure after trailing early.
“It seems that when we’re down by three, guys start panicking,” Pierce said. “When things are going well, they need to stick with it, and when we struggle, they need to get back to their discipline and get back to the things that made them good. That’s my biggest message to them.”
The blowout loss ends a series that started on a high note. In Thursday’s series opener, Texas scored in six of eight innings and rode its bats to an 8-6 victory. Four Longhorns had multihit games, and freshman pitcher Nico O’Donnell had another solid showing.
But the Longhorn bats went quiet the rest of the weekend against a dominant Stanford pitching staff. On Friday, Texas was stifled in a 7-1 loss, scoring their lone run late when the game was already out of reach.
On Saturday, Texas had a series-high three-run fourth inning. But the team was shutout in the other eight frames, in what turned into a runaway 9-3 win for Stanford.
Texas’ starting pitching didn’t fare much better against the Cardinal as the weekend progressed. Junior pitcher Nolan Kingham and sophomore pitcher Blair Henley both gave up five earned runs in six-inning starts. Overall, the Longhorns gave up 33 runs in four games, by far their most in a series.
“First, I will credit Stanford for fighting off some tough pitches,” Pierce said. “I think you have to be able to pitch them in late, and we just didn’t get the ball in. The bottom line with our pitchers, when we throw quality pitches, the goal is to be able to repeat that. We just didn’t repeat our best pitches.”
Texas will try to shake the sting off the series loss as it prepares for a quick turnaround. The Longhorns head to Fayetteville on Tuesday to take on Arkansas in the first of a two-game series.
Pierce’s message was simple as the team heads out of town.
“Regroup,” Pierce said. “Get back to trusting yourself. We just got done with playing one of the better teams in the country. We have to learn from them and take it personally.”