The Texas Longhorns got down early Sunday afternoon against Oklahoma State as the Cowboys were able to score two second-inning runs off of Texas starter Chase Shugart.
History has proven that falling behind early does not bode well for this Texas baseball team, as they often end up on the losing end in games where the other team scores first and forces the Longhorns to come from behind.
Things got very interesting in the top half of the third inning after the Cowboys loaded the bases after a leadoff triple followed by a walk and hit-by-pitch. Ryan Reynolds made a routine play on a popup in foul territory right up against the railing of the OSU dugout. Oklahoma State manager Josh Holliday proceeded to come out to have a word with the home plate umpire, and appeared to be arguing that Reynolds entered the Cowboy dugout in order to make the play.
The umpires got together and ultimately decided to uphold the call on the field for the first out of the inning. No big deal, lets get back to playing ball, right? Wrong. Things would get even more interesting from there. Holliday came out of the dugout again, this time looking like he just wanted a final explanation and we would be well on our way.
After the conversation between Holliday and the home plate umpire carried on a little longer than David Pierce would have liked, the Texas coach came out to join the conversation and was ejected before he could even begin a discussion. It was unclear whether or not Pierce said the magic word, but the hook for the Texas coach was definitely a quick one. Pierce proceeded to get his words in and returned to the Texas dugout.
Before it was all said and done, Texas pitcher Nolan Kingham was also ejected from the game, and Chase Shugart hadn’t thrown a pitch in 10 minutes. What should have been a routine play that went without question turned into a fiasco-filled, lengthy delay.
Oklahoma State starting pitcher Carson Teel held the Longhorns in check up until the Longhorns half of the fifth inning when the Texas bats were finally able to get something going against the junior southpaw. Coming into the game, Teel led the Big 12 in ERA, so it was very encouraging to see the Texas offense battle and eventually get some hard-hit balls against him.
Tate Shaw led the inning off with a triple and after back-to-back doubles by Kody Clemens and Ryan Reynolds, the ‘Horns evened the score at 3-3. The tie would not hold for long as Masen Hibbeler subsequently drilled an RBI triple to the gap in right center giving Texas its first lead of the day, 4-3.
Bryce Elder continued to impress out of the bullpen for Texas, and he played a key role in the win today, picking up Shugart in the fourth inning and keeping the ‘Horns in the game as he was able to eat up a chunk of innings in middle relief to save the rest of the bullpen.
The Texas offense really busted things open in the bottom of the seventh, as the Longhorns were able to string some hits together and ultimately put up a five-spot on the scoreboard.
The Cowboys answered after Josh Sawyer walked two batters and later gave up a two-run double to pull the Cowboys within four, as they cut the Texas lead to 9-5.
Clemens gave Texas its final run of the day on a solo blast to right field in the bottom of the eighth. It was his seventh long ball of the season, which provided us with another beautiful bat flip.
Andy McGuire once again came on in the final inning for Texas and locked the win for the Longhorns, clinching the series.
It was great to see the way this team fought back after a pretty tough loss on Friday night. Texas will need to continue to improve in games where they fall behind early, but the fight is definitely there and will be crucial to success later in the season.
Nolan Kingham continues to settle in for Texas. That is a great sign for the ‘Horns as I view Kingham the most important pitcher on this Texas staff. The team will go as he goes, and if he is on, the team is on.
After losing five consecutive games, the Longhorns have bounced back in winning six of their last seven. This is important momentum as the conference schedule is only going to get tougher.
Texas will make the quick trip over to San Marcos on Tuesday night as they will battle the (14-8-1) Texas State Bobcats.