I will confess up front that I am writing this mini recap as Texas is down big at halftime to a Baylor basketball team they have beaten twice, and I honestly think the Longhorns have as many airballs as they do defensive rebounds at this moment. Add in the fact that Baylor can't seem to miss, and when they do Texas obligingly gives them another chance, and I'm an annoyed Longhorn fan. So I may be in a more critical mood than is fair.
Still, Kansas is about as close to a must-win series as you can have in the first conference matchup of the year, and Texas' ineptitude on offense has ensured the margin of error for accomplishing that feat is now nonexistent. Parker French was not sharp, lasting only 5.1 innings and allowing seven hits and three walks. Kansas scored a pair off him in the top of the first with a bases-loaded hit batsman and a sac fly, and that was nearly enough for the win right there--before Texas had seen a pitch.
Texas cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fourth, when Brooks Marlow drew a four-pitch walk and Texas' best hitter, Mark Payton, laid down a sacrifice bunt to move him to second base. CJ Hinojosa stroked a double to left field to score Marlow, but that would be the extent of the damage. Kansas got the run right back in the top of the fifth, and then chased French with one out in the sixth. A bullpen combo of Duke, Hollingsworth, and Culbreth held down the fort to give Texas a chance, but the offense could only manage a single run in the bottom of the ninth the rest of the way.
Particularly painful to watch was the bottom of the sixth. After a double by Ben Johnson and a single by Payton, the Horns had men on the corners with one away. Hinojosa popped up behind home plate, and the Jayhawks' catcher and first baseman collided as the first baseman came down with the ball. Johnson, trying to make a play, tagged up at third in an attempt to take advantage of the confusion.
Kansas was ready for him, though, and the throw to the plate beat him. Johnson had a decent case that he may have gotten under the tag--and it's definitely true that he was tagged up around his hip--but the fact remains the throw was well ahead of him and it was not an obviously blown call. It was, however, a game-changing decision as the Longhorns lost by a single run.
To avoid dropping yet another conference series after going 0-for-the-season in 2013, Texas must win the next two. It starts today at 1:00 PM with Dillon Peters on the hill. This is your open thread.