Texas Longhorns baseball fell to the Oklahoma Sooners 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at the Disch.
The Longhorns got an excellent performance from Kyle Johnston, who reclaimed his role as weekend starter after not starting in a weekend series since March 4th against Stanford. However, Texas’ offense couldn’t manufacture enough runs to complete the series sweep.
Texas began with an offensive burst in the first inning, as the ‘Horns loaded the bases with no outs. Kacy Clemens recorded a sac fly to score his brother Kody, who had gotten the inning started with a single up the middle.
It was a defensive battle for the rest of the game, as both Oklahoma pitcher Nathan Wiles and Johnston quickly locked in. Oklahoma nearly scored in the second inning from a grounder with a runner on third and one out, but Ryan Reynolds threw the Oklahoma runner out at the plate with help from a nice tag by Michael Cantu.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Kacy Clemens was ejected by the home plate ump for saying a few words as he walked away on a called strike out. He was replaced by utility man Jake McKenzie.
Texas faltered in the sixth inning after Johnston allowed a one-out RBI single to Oklahoma’s Renae Martinez to knot the game at one. However, with one out and runners on the corners, Kyle Johnston battled through a nine pitch at bat to get a double play ball and end the inning.
Johnston’s day was over after the sixth as he was replaced by Chase Shugart. Johnston earned a final line of one run, three hits, five walks, and four strike outs in six complete innings. It was one of the better performances of his career, especially considering he came off of minimal rest after starting on Tuesday.
Shugart he hit an Oklahoma hitter in the head in his second pitch of the ball game. A sac bunt and a double later, and the Sooners took the lead 2-1. Shugart was able to limit the damage to one, but it would be the only run Oklahoma would need.
Beau Ridgeway finished the game in the final two innings and continued his remarkable sophomore campaign. In the eighth, Ridgeway evaded any runs scored after allowing runners on second and third with one outs. He took care of business in less stressful fashion, getting a strikeout to put Oklahoma down in the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Texas was able to get a runner on with one out after a Michael Cantu walk. Tyler Rand was thrown out on a steal attempt after getting a bad break on a ball on the dirt to make it two outs. Reynolds then struck out, but reached first on a ball in the dirt to continue the game.
Freshman Trace Bucey came to the plate to pinch hit. Bucey struck out swinging to end the game, 2-1 in favor of the Sooners.
The clear positive from the series closer: pitching. A weekend rotation of Nolan Kingham, Morgan Cooper, and Kyle Johnston on top of his game is virtually unbeatable, so its possible David Pierce has finally found his weekend starter formula for success.
Texas returns to action with a home game against Texas State on Tuesday at 6:30 PM CST at the Disch. The ‘Horns will then take on Baylor on Thursday to begin a three game series in Waco.