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Bad Defense, Baserunning, Luck Doom Horns Against Tennessee; Arkansas Open Thread

Score by Innings                    R  H  E
Texas Longhorns..... 001 000 201 - 4 10 1
Tennessee Volunteers 400 010 00X - 5 7 0

The Horns fell behind early again yesterday as Tennessee used a walk, an error on Milner, a bunt single, a bloop single to left and a seeing-eye single to left to score four runs on Texas in the bottom of the first without hitting a single ball hard. Milner's poor defensive play haunted Texas as a good throw probably disrupts the big inning and completely changes the complexion of the ballgame. Alas, it was not meant to be and a furious Texas rally fell an out short on Saturday as the Horns fell 5-4 to Tennessee to put them at 4-6 on the year.

The Horns combined horrible luck with bad baserunning to snuff out three innings. In the top of the second, Jacob Felts crushed a ball off the short porch in left field and was thrown out trying to take second on what is easily a double anywhere else. Jordan Etier was hit by a pitch in the fifth and eventually was thrown out at the plate attempting to steal home. The play probably could have gone either way but the umpire saw him as out. Etier would have probably been safe, however, had the pitch not been low and in the dirt in front of the plate, positioning the catcher perfectly to apply the tag. Finally, Jonathan Walsh attempted to stretch a single into a double on a ball crushed to the ball in right in the sixth and was gunned out on a play that could've been called safe or out.

In the end, there's certainly no shame in dropping one game to Tennessee, but it's certainly not a positive in the context of everything that's happened already in this young season. If Texas can beat Arkansas (which lost to Houston yesterday) today, then the weekend is an unqualified success, simple as that. Some positives to take away from the last two days of baseball:

  • John Curtiss can be a beast. The freshman kept Texas in the game after Milner left, throwing four shutout innings while giving up just two hits and two walks and striking out five. Combined with French's work yesterday, the Horns have gotten great relief work from its young arms.
  • The offense is starting to show signs of life. You can't give up three outs on the base paths, but Texas hitters are making great contact and stroking the ball so far this weekend. Brooks Marlow (3-3, 2 RBI) and Jacob Felts (2-3, RBI, 2 R) were the big bats yesterday, but the Horns are getting contributions throughout the lineup with the exceptions of Etier, Christian Summers (who may need a break as DH) and Kevin Lusson. Etier started slow a season ago and ended up respectively and the Horns probably don't have a better option at first base than Lusson, but expect to see more of Alex Silvers and Collin Shaw at DH as the season progresses.

Texas finishes its weekend today at 11:00 AM against Arkansas. The Razorbacks are in a similar situation of needing a win to avoid a "series loss" in Houston. Freshman Ricky Jacquez is scheduled to go today after struggling in Palo Alto. DJ Baxendale takes the mound for Arkansas with 12 IP over three starts and fairly solid numbers to boot.

Join us here for the open thread as the Horns look to go a very respectable 2-1 for the weekend.