Texas is now dead last in the Big 12 standings.
The Longhorns had an opportunity to gain a sizable lead in the standings over the Kansas Jayhawks and were in good shape, holding a 2-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Two home runs and four total runs later, the Longhorns were walking off the field at Hoglund Ballpark with heads low in a 4-2 defeat.
“Yeah, (gut punch) is a good word,” said head coach David Pierce in his postgame press conference with Texas Sports.
If the season ended today, Texas, the defending Big 12 regular season champion, would be the only team to miss the Big 12 Tournament.
The loss tonight stings, but it was in no way the fault of starting pitcher Bryce Elder. The three-time Big 12 Pitcher of the Week this season went 7.1 innings on Friday night and allowed just one run on three hits.
Though Texas was unable to capitalize off of Elder’s performance, the Longhorns found themselves in a position to win after pushing a run across in the top half of the ninth on a RBI single from second baseman Lance Ford.
“We scratched and clawed to get a 2-1 lead against one of the best pitchers in the league,” Pierce said. “We did a great job of running the bases. (Third baseman) Ryan (Reynolds) gets a bunt down, we take the lead and we have a lot of momentum. Just a couple of mistake pitches, and they made us pay.”
Texas was close to closing out the ballgame Friday night, yet each time the ball rolled in favor of the Longhorns, Kansas had something to say about it.
Pitcher Matteo Bocchi was the man tasked with getting the final three outs of the ball game which he came up short in doing.
“You draw it up and it couldn’t have happened any better the way it lined out,” Pierce said. “(Bocchi) is the guy we wanted in the game at the time, and it just unfortunately didn’t work out for us.”
Bocchi quickly delivered two strikes over the plate on the first batter of the inning. Yet, the next pitch was sent over the right field fence by Kansas left fielder Brett Vosik. It looked like the two teams were destined for extra innings, but with two outs, Bocchi allowed a single to extend the inning.
With another opportunity to send the game into extra innings, Bocchi allowed the two-run walk off home run to Kansas right fielder Casey Burnham.