Photo Credit: Tim Irby
Texas Tech got its first Friday win in Austin since 1994, coming out on the good side of a classic pitcher's duel. The series continues today at 2:00 on the Longhorn Network, as Texas will try to get its first Big 12 win.
As usual, Parker French was excellent last night. The Texas starter went six innings and gave up no runs and just two hits. But, in a scary moment, French came out for the seventh inning then abruptly retreated to the dugout. It was eerily reminiscent of his season-ending elbow injury last season; there is no word yet on French's status, but hopefully it is not as serious this time around.
More problematic in the immediate sense is that his replacement, Ty Marlow, gave up a solo homerun to the second Tech hitter he faces. The hilariously named Jarrard Poteete hit what turned out to be the game-winning dinger, as the Longhorns couldn't muster even a single run in the contest. It's hard to blame Marlow; after all, no baseball team ever won a game with zero runs. In a 1-0 loss, the pitching staff clearly did its job; their teammates, however, were of no help whatsoever.
Much credit, of course, must go to the Tech pitchers as well. In particular, starter Dominic Moreno scattered five hits over seven innings in a dominant performance. But the bottom of the ninth illustrated just how much of the blame for the complete lack of offense falls squarely on Texas' own shoulders. After a leadoff single by Mark Payton, Augie Garrido had CJ Hinojosa bunt. Normally, we are fully behind Augie's small-ball approach; unlike the Major Leagues, it has real value in college simply because forcing the other team to make plays can result in good things happening. But in the bottom of the ninth, down by a run, with your hottest hitter at the plate, we thought taking the bat out of his hands was...well, stupid.
But it worked out, as Hinojosa laid a beautiful bunt down the first base line and beat it out for a hit. That brought up Alex Silver, whom Augie sent up to pinch hit for Ben Johnson. Silver got the sac bunt down, putting the tying run on third and the winning run on second. The problem is, it also put Jacob Felts at the plate. Felts showed he can hit reliably last season, but there's no sugar-coating the fact that he is badly scuffling so far this year; he so far below the Mendoza line he can't even see it from here.
It's not as though Augie had an excellent option on the bench; but he left Matt Moynihan, who is hitting a respectable .277, on the bench in favor of Felts. We'd have preferred to see Moynihan hit for Felts there; all Texas needed was a fly ball deep enough to score the tying run. But Felts meekly struck out swinging on four pitches; one of the few things you can do in that situation that gives you no chance of scoring the runner from third.
From there, after bafflingly leaving Felts up there to flail away, Augie did pinch hit Moynihan for Madison Carter. Moynihan ended the game with a groundout to second--which, incidentally, may have had a chance to score the tying run had it been hit with one out instead of two. We're not suggesting that Augie's coaching decision in the ninth were the main reasons for the loss; but they certainly didn't help much.
First pitch today is at 2:00 on LHN, as Texas looks for its first conference win and for a chance to still come away with a series win. This is your open thread. Hook 'em!