Morgan Cooper pitched an excellent game, but Texas’ inability to manufacture hits coupled with less than perfect relief pitching caused the Longhorns to fall 3-2 to Stanford Friday night.
The Longhorns jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a Kacy Clemens RBI ground-out and Travis Jones single, but Texas was pretty much playing not to lose the rest of the game.
Texas hitters struck out 10 times and only notched four hits. The Longhorns’ patience at the plate has paid off against lesser teams in the form of walks, but Stanford only allowed one base on balls on the night.
Home runs have been another saving grace for Texas’ anemic bats, but in Stanford’s pitcher friendly Klein Park, no ‘Horns went deep.
Though David Pierce’s team couldn’t get it going at the plate, Cooper provided a solid 6.0 innings pitched. He set the tone with a 1-2-3 inning to kick things off in the first and was efficient for most of the night. The junior paired his quick innings with clutch ones, escaping jams. In the sixth inning, Cooper escaped a Stanford rally by only allowing one run to score on a sac fly to make it 2-1.
Chase Shugart entered on in relief for Cooper and was unable to be the stopper Pierce wanted. The sophomore struck out the first batter, but then allowed a hit and an untimely walk. Shugart then had Stanford’s Duke Kinamon down 0-2, but hit him on the wrist with a pitch to load the bases. Jake McKenzie came on in relief.
With one out and the bases loaded, Stanford slapped an RBI ground-out to tie the score 2-2. Texas then opted to intentionally walk Quinn Brodey to bring up star catcher Alex Dunlap with two outs and the bases loaded. McKenzie got the .359 hitter to ground-out to third to get out of the inning.
Texas bats went down 1-2-3 in the ninth, but Stanford started off the bottom of the inning with a double in the gap. Lefty senior Jon Malmin entered the game, and expertly threw a sacrifice bunt to third to get the lead runner, who had slid past the bag. However, Malmin walking the next batter put Texas right back into a jam with runners on first and second and only one out.
Beau Ridgeway then became the fifth Texas pitcher used on the night, and got the Stanford hitter to line out to make it two outs. Stanford’s Brodey then singled to center, scoring Matt Winaker to end the game 3-2.
Any night where Morgan Cooper takes the mound should end in a win, so letting the lead slip late stings for the ‘Horns. The four game series is now tied at one win for each team.
Texas looks to bounce back today at 2 pm CST. Kyle Johnston will take the hill for the ‘Horns.
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