Travis Duke

The series finale didn’t go well for No. 22 Texas as junior starter Lukas Schiraldi and the Texas pitchers struggled Sunday afternoon in an 11-5 loss to No. 25 Stanford. In just two innings of work, Schiraldi (1-1) surrendered four hits, four walks and five earned runs.

“He appeared to be out of rhythm,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “When you’re trying to find a rhythm, you struggle.”

Stanford got the scoring going in the second inning on a one-out suicide-squeeze, barely beating the tag of freshman catcher Tres Barrera. But the real damage came with two outs. After another Schiraldi walk, the bases were loaded for left fielder Wayne Taylor, who promptly cleared them with a triple to the 405-foot marker in the right-center gap to give Stanford a 4-0 lead.

“We lost the momentum in the first part of the game,” Garrido said. “It makes the rest of the game more stressful, feeling like you have to be perfect.”

The next inning didn’t go much better for Schiraldi. After back-to-back singles to start the inning, Schiraldi’s night was done as Texas went to the pen with sophomore lefty Travis Duke.

With one out and the bases juiced it looked as though Duke was going to get out of the jam. The crowd thought Duke had a strikeout, but the first base umpire called a balk before the pitch, sending Garrido sprinting from the dugout.

“I want the players to know I will fight for them,” Garrido, who was tossed on that play, said.

While the Cardinal offense put up five quick runs, the Texas offense struggled early on against the six-foot-nine, hard throwing freshman, Chris Viall (2-0). Through four innings, Texas (5-3) recorded just two hits. But the offense came alive in the fifth, sparked by a one-out triple by sophomore left-fielder Ben Johnson. Freshman right fielder Zane Gurwitz then singled him home to open up the scoring for Texas. Two straight walks loaded the bases for Texas’ three and four hitters with one out, but Texas was unable to capitalize.

Stanford (3-4) came right back out in the top of the sixth and blew the game open. On two consecutive pitches off sophomore reliever Ty Culbreth, Stanford hit a two-run double and two-run homer to extend the lead to 10-1 and send fans to the exits.

“Both teams played almost the same game,” Garrido said. “The difference was a bases loaded triple and that two-run homerun. They got the timely hits and we didn’t sustain the rally.”

Texas kept battling, putting four runs on the board in the sixth behind two more RBI’s from Gurwitz, but it was too little, too late as the slow-paced game was called for time after eight innings.

Payton went 1-for-1 on the day with three walks, continuing his hot streak. In the weekend series, Payton finished with a .800 average for the series with five walks. The Longhorns will have a day off before UT-Pan American comes to Austin Tuesday.

“Tuesday is going to be another day,” Payton said.

Junior outfielder Weston Hall stepus up to the plat against Texas Pan-American. Hall cored on Mark Payton’s RBI single in the first inning of Tuesday night’s game.   

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

You couldn’t tell Augie Garrido was leading a team in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row by his demeanor after Texas’ 6-1 sleep-inducing win over The University of Texas-Pan American on Tuesday night.

Upon learning that Josh Urban, who started and gave up one run on four hits in 2 innings, had picked up the win and not Travis Duke, who pitched 2.1 scoreless innings in relief, Garrido took it in stride.

“I just congratulated Duke!” Garrido said. “Go in there and tell him to stop dancing.”

By the time the Longhorns had finished picking up their second 6-1 victory over UTPA in as many months, more Texas fans had left UFCU Disch-Falk Field than remained in its bleachers.

The Longhorns drew 12 walks — six of them in a three-run third inning — and recorded 10 hits but managed to score just six times. Texas took a 1-0 lead into the third, scoring twice on bases-loaded walks and again on a bases-loaded balk later in the frame.

“We took a page out of [former Texas Baseball Coach Cliff] Gustafson’s playbook,” Garrido said. “We just kept giving take signs as long as they were throwing the ball outside the strike zone.”

But don’t be fooled. Texas is far from being an NCAA Tournament-worthy team. The Longhorns, who missed out on the postseason for the first time in 14 years last season, would have lost to most, if not all, Big 12 teams playing the game they played Tuesday night. 

Leaving 15 men on base and going 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position, including 0-for-3 with the bases loaded, isn’t exactly a recipe for success. 

“We have people playing to get hits. We have people playing to sign contracts,” Garrido said. “We have people playing to look better on the Jumbotron when their name comes up. We’ve got to handle the fundamentals of the game. They are the weapons of war.”

Texas has one of the best pitching staffs in the country. Its three weekend starters — Parker French, Dillon Peters and Nathan Thornhill — hold a collective 2.37 ERA but are just a combined 8-8 on the year. Seven of the Longhorns’ 15 losses this season have come by one run. 

They are close. So close to being one of the best teams in the Big 12, one that can make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. But if Texas keeps playing like this, it won’t have that chance.

“We’re a lot different than last year,” closer Corey Knebel said, who tossed two scoreless innings in his first appearance since being sent home last weekend from Kansas. “We’re actually a team that’s really good and we’re not showing it right now. We know it’ll turn soon because it’s got to. The team we have is really good. It just hasn’t gone our way sometimes.”

Knebel may be right. But if it doesn’t turn around soon, the Longhorns will be on the outside looking in on the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year. 

Innings 1-3: The Texas offense took advantage of a struggling Broncs defense to score four runs through the first three frames. This was highlighted by three runs scored in the bottom of the third off of six walks that The University of Texas-Pan American pitching staff allowed. Josh Urban was solid on the mound for the Longhorns, facing just one over the minimum and logging two strikeouts in the first three frames. 

Innings 4-6: Things slowed down at the plate for the Longhorns. Ty Marlow plated C.J Hinojosa in the bottom of the fourth for the Longhorns’ only run scored in the middle three frames. Freshman Travis Duke came in as relief after Urban gave up one run through two outs in the fifth.

Innings 7-9: Junior Corey Knebel came in to close for the Longhorns in the top of the eighth and was effective in his first appearance since being sent home early from the Longhorns’ series against Kansas this past weekend. The UTPA pitching staff kept control of the Texas offense through the final three frames and was able to get out of several tight on-base situations. Texas’ only score came from an RBI double by Marlow in the eighth, his second RBI on the night.

By the Numbers:

6 – Tuesday night wins by the Longhorns this season. Texas has lost only two mid-week games this season, a trend that the Longhorns hope to use this weekend against West Virginia.

10 – Hits by the Longhorn offense that resulted in three of the Longhorn’s six runs. The other three came off walks and a balk by the UTPA defense.

12 – The number of walks allowed by the UTPA defense. Six of those came in the third inning alone and resulted in three runs by the Longhorns.

15 – Longhorn runners left on base. The Broncs left only five through nine innings.

Stock Up:

Tuesday night pitchers: They weren’t always perfect, even against an overmatched UTPA offense, but they did what was needed to get Texas the win. Urban came and started on the mound for the Longhorns and pitched four solid innings before giving up a run in the fifth. Duke came in as relief and continued to frustrate the UTPA offense. The Broncs had several on-base opportunities, but the Texas pitching staff refused to relent giving up only one run off five hits on the night. 

What’s Next for the Horns

West Virginia – The Longhorns will host the Big 12 newcomer in a three-game series this weekend. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m. Friday night followed by games Saturday and Sunday. The Mountaineers (21-17, 4-5) are sixth in the Big 12 and are coming off a 13-5 victory over Morehead State at home.

Freshman pitcher Chad Hollingsworth started off shaky but quickly bounced back to pitch five solid innings and earned back-to-back outs in his first game for Texas.  

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

The Texas defense carried the team Tuesday night against the University of Texas at Arlington. Coming off a weekend of above average offense and struggles on the mound, the Longhorns put together a solid defensive effort against the Mavericks.

The Longhorns defeated the Mavericks 2-1. Despite surrendering seven hits with one error, the Longhorns (3-1) looked solid on defense and protected the lead through the close-scoring game.

“I am happy with the way this team is being consistent,” head coach Augie Garrido said of the defense. “We played hard, they didn’t let the play on offense get to them.”

Freshman Chad Hollingsworth started in his first game for the Longhorns and pitched five solid innings from the mound. After walking his first batter, Hollingsworth surrendered a hit before an error loaded the bases. Keeping his head, the freshman quickly pulled off back-to-back outs, including a strike-out, to keep the Mavericks scoreless.

“Our defense really played for us today. I got into some jams, but our defense picked it up and got me out of it,” Hollingsworth said.

UT-Arlington’s only run came off a triple to right field by junior Matt Shortall that fell right inside the fence, just out of junior Mark Payton’s reach.

Throughout the game, the Texas defense had a habit of getting out of bad situations without much damage. Freshman Travis Duke came out of the bullpen for Texas in relief at the top of the sixth inning and was immediately effective for the Longhorns. Duke registered two strikeouts and faced the minimum in his first inning on the mound.

Several times throughout the game, the Mavericks threatened to strike but were unable to gain any momentum from the Longhorns. In the seventh inning, Duke surrendered a hit with one out and was relieved by sophomore Cameron Cox who gave up another single to center field.

Junior Ty Marlow, who was credited with the save last Friday night against Sacramento State, came in to clean up for the Longhorns pitching two straight outs. Junior Corey Knebel came in as closer in the eighth surrendering only one hit in two innings while striking out three.

On offense, junior Erich Weiss headlined the night with a two RBI effort in the third. With the bases loaded and one out, Weiss hit a line drive just inside the third-base line to plate both first baseman Codey McElroy and designated hitter Matt Moynihan.

The Longhorns had multiple scoring opportunities throughout the night but were unable to capitalize on several stolen bases and UT-Arlington defensive shortcomings. The Longhorns finished the evening with five hits. Moynihan’s single that led to a run in the third marked his fourth consecutive game with a hit.

Published on February 20, 2013 as "Defense triumphs in win".