Some notes after Texas’ 5-2 loss to Oklahoma:
Offense Sleeps In
The Longhorns still come away with the series win, but can’t be happy about the egg they laid today. Only one player registered multiple hits (Tant Shepherd), and six starters went hitless. Texas had a chance in the sixth inning, with the bases loaded, but Jonathan Walsh swung and missed at what would have been a ball four that was neck-high to end the inning.
Stafford Gets a Quick Hook
Sam Stafford got his second straight loss of the season after starting out 5-0. When he’s hitting the strike zone and in his groove, the junior southpaw may be the second-best pitcher the Longhorns have, but when he’s throwing like he did Sunday, Texas is in trouble. Stafford allowed Oklahoma to get their leadoff batter on in the first three innings, and never looked completely comfortable. He lasted just 3.2 innings, with one earned run.
Stafford, without a doubt, has the shortest leash of any other pitcher on the team. Pitching coach Skip Johnson had freshman Nathan Thornhill warming up in the bullpen in the first inning. That can’t help a pitcher’s confidence.
“Seeing guys warm up in the bullpen, it’s something that you can’t focus or dwell on, so I need to prevent that by throwing strikes,” Stafford said. “When I’m in a rough patch, they tend to have a short leash. You can’t get inside the coaches’ minds.”
Head coach Augie Garrido called Stafford’s start “okay.”
Walla Back In Action
He’s still too injured to play center field, but it was an encouraging sign to see Cohl Walla in action as the DH today. Since fouling a pitch off his knee March 29, Walla hasn’t done anything but pinch-hit. Paul Montalbano has filled in well for him, so well in fact that Garrido has hinted that he’s earned the right to be the starter once Walla is back to full form, but there’s no denying the fact that these Longhorns are better when they have a bat like Walla’s in the lineup. He was 1-for-4 today with a ninth-inning RBI-single.
Weiss’ Streak Ends
Freshman third baseman Erich Weiss failed to record a base hit Sunday afternoon, which means that his hitting streak is done after 15 games. Weiss was four away from the Texas freshman record, and 10 away from the school record of 25, which was set by fellow third baseman Michael Torres a few years ago.
Don’t look now, but the Longhorns are suddenly showing flashes of power. Brandon Loy went deep Friday (over the 375-foot sign in left-center), Weiss took one out over right-center on Saturday, and Shepherd hit one that landed right where Loy’s did. On the year, Shepherd and Weiss are tied for the team lead with three apiece.
But none of the three were more impressive than Oklahoma’s Max White, who got such a good handle on a Hoby Milner fastball that it was a short bounce away from hitting a moving car in the parking lot.
Big 12 Conference Race
Had they won Sunday, the Longhorns would be in first place in the Big 12 standings. But they didn’t, and that means they’re tied with Texas A&M, who lost two of three from Missouri in Columbia.
No. 7 Texas faces Prairie View A&M Tuesday.