The game didn’t start until 8:20 pm CST, but the sun didn’t set on the Texas Longhorns baseball season until the fifth inning. After jumping out to a 4-0 lead, Texas gave up eight runs in the fifth and ultimately fell 10-4 to two-seeded Oklahoma State. The first half of the game showed the skilled Longhorns team that was missing this season, while the disastrous ending showed the undisciplined unit that’s put extreme pressure on Augie Garrido’s coaching status.
Texas never once had the lead in their series against Oklahoma State less than a month ago, so being ahead on the scoreboard for the first four innings was a pleasant surprise. Texas’ opening run came after a first-inning double by Travis Jones. It was Jones’ first time batting in the three hole, and the sophomore delivered. Tres Barrera later added an RBI to his name with a single in the same inning.
For a while, everything was right with the world. However, there were still glimpses of deficiencies, as Texas could’ve capitalized on their chances even more. In the first three innings, Texas failed to execute on two sacrifice bunts, two runners were caught stealing, and four batters struck out. But being in the lead had a way of quelling frustrating moments.
After Oklahoma State starter Trey Cobb was replaced by Remy Reed in the fourth inning, the Longhorns’ bats came alive again. It was Texas’ two RBI leaders who extended the lead -- Zane Gurwitz started it off with a single that knocked home the always-hustling Jake McKenzie from second base. Tres Barrera later got out of his slump with another RBI single, bringing home Gurwitz and making it 4-0.
On defense, Ty Culbreth was locked in for four innings in what was likely the senior’s last game. Culbreth recorded six strikeouts, and was never in trouble until his last inning. But trouble doesn’t even begin to describe it. Culbreth gave up a leadoff double, a single, and then loaded the bases with his first walk of the game. Joe Baker then misplayed a ground ball, and a run was scored rather than a potential double play. Baker’s mistake made it nine games in a row that Texas has recorded an error.
After that, the wind left Texas’ sails. Culbreth gave up a bloop base hit to left, and then ground ball single to make the score 4-3. Culbreth recorded an infield pop up, and then it was freshman Beau Ridgeway’s turn to pitch. It must’ve been a nerve-wracking situation for the young reliever, and Ridgeway gave up a heart-breaking grand slam to his first batter. The home run was only Cowboy Senior Conor Costello’s third of the season, but he hit it a mile to make it 7-4 Oklahoma State.
Later, Jake McKenzie made a fielding error, and Ridgeway threw a wild pitch to advance the runner to second base. Joe Baker then made his second error of the inning, throwing a routine ground ball into the dirt. This brought the score to 8-4. Baker was then replaced by Brett Boswell. Beau Ridgeway then threw another wild pitch, bringing a Cowboys runner to third base. But the damage was done, as Ridgeway was able to finish out the inning.
The #OkState fifth inning:— Eric Bailey (@EricBaileyTW) May 26, 2016
8: Runs scored
4: RBIs on Costello HR
3: Errors by Texas
Cowboys up 8-4, headed to 6th
Texas initially seemed poised with the stakes high, but they lost their focus when things started to fall apart. At some point, the disastrous fifth inning stopped being frustrating, and just became unbelievably sad. It was sad to Ty Culbreth end his career on a low note after a great season, sad to see the freshman Ridgeway get shaken from allowing a grand slam, and sad to know that that fifth inning was almost certainly one of the last nails in Augie Garrido’s coaching coffin.
In the sixth inning, the Cowboys' hitting leader Donnie Walton knocked a double to left center to make it 9-4. The Longhorns let up another run in the eighth, partially due to Zane Gurwitz misplaying a base hit, causing the eventual lead extending run to advance to second. Oklahoma State is the worst-hitting team in the Big 12, but Texas frankly made their offense look like a poorly-fielded batting practice. Ten runs is unacceptable. The Longhorns' pitching didn't even seem that ugly, but the game just rapidly unraveled.
Texas will take on Baylor in the losers’ bracket tomorrow at 12:30 pm CST. Baylor is coming off of a 12-5 loss against TCU, but the Bears beat Texas in their series in Austin just last week. If Texas loses, they are eliminated, and the Augie Garrido era may be over. Tell me -- Is it possible to cherish a legend's final game, while simultaneously wanting the train wreck to be over?