Coming into this week, I expected this series to come down to pitching from both teams. I was pleasantly surprised the way Texas jumped on Stanford last night, and maintained constant pressure on the scoreboard. Tonight, however, I expected a plethora of great pitching due to the fact that Texas’ ace Nolan Kingham was squaring off with Stanford’s Kris Bubic.
Bubic was named on the watch list for the Golden Spikes Award, which annually recognizes the top amateur baseball player in the country. The Cardinal has won on Bubic’s last ten starts, while giving up zero runs in his last 16 innings pitched. Let alone, he has never given up an earned run to Texas in his career. So needless to say, runs were going to be at a premium for the Longhorns.
Ultimately, it was everything as advertised – for Kris Bubic.
The Cardinal were the first to get on the scoreboard in the top of the first when Nico Hoerner solo-homered over the left field fence.
Following Bucic’s efficient inning, Stanford added one in the third when Andrew Daschbach RBI singled to center field that scored Tim Tawa from second.
Texas had a couple of great chances to get on the scoreboard, and chip away at the Stanford lead in the bottom of the third. Following two straight walks to Burtleson and Ellis, David Hamilton laid down a perfect bunt to secure bases loaded with no outs. In spite of that great play from Hamilton, he then made a mental error on the base paths when he interfered with the second baseman. It was an unfortunate call because the runner from third that scored was called back. Nevertheless, the bases were loaded again with one of Texas’ best hitter – Zach Zubia. Unfortunately, Zubia grounded out to end the inning. Texas couldn’t get it done.
With Nolan Kingham trying to match an effective Kris Bubic, the Texas ace ran into some trouble in the fifth. Tim Tawa started off the inning with a hard hit single to left field. Ensuing a successful hit and run by Hoerner that put runners on the corners, Brandon Wulff hit a monster three-run homer over the left field fence. This put the Cardinal up 5-0.
Strong pitching from Bubic followed, as he silenced the Texas offense in the fifth and sixth innings. At one point, it just seemed like he was cozy with whatever pitch he threw at Texas – and for good reason.
Both starting pitchers got relief in the seventh as Parker Joe Robinson came in for Kingham, and Jacob Palisch came in for Bubic. Up until that point, Bubic had only given up three hits the entire game, highlighting the fact that Texas had trouble with the southpaw all night. The pitching stat lines are listed below:
Kris Bubic – 6.0IP, 1R, 1ER, 3H, 5BB, 9SO, 103 pitches
Nolan Kingham – 6.0IP, 5R, 5ER, 10H, 1BB, 3SO, 84 pitches
Texas was able to get one on the scoreboard in the seventh following an RBI groundout from Duke Ellis, but that’s all they could manage for the rest of the game.
Stanford added to their 5-1 lead in the eighth inning following a Beau Ridgeway walk with the bases loaded. Tim Tawa then flied out to center field, which allowed the runner from third to score - extending the Cardinal lead to 7-1.
The eighth and ninth innings for the Texas offense didn’t produce much action at all, as Stanford showcased their talented bullpen. The combination of Jacob Palisch and Zach Grech (who didn’t have the greatest outing yesterday) gridlocked any possible Texas comeback. Ultimately, the ‘Horns ended up on the losing end tonight.
The unexpected hitting performance of last night’s game against Stanford combined with an impressive performance from freshman pitcher Nico O’Donnell certainly raised a few eyebrows. So much so, it kind of made me think that Texas had turned the corner to become a consistent hitting team. However, they didn’t have it tonight at the plate. Kody Clemens’ 13-game hitting streak came to an end tonight as he struggled getting anything going.
I’m going to give the ‘Horns the benefit of the doubt as they faced a top 20 prospect in Kris Bubic and a talented bullpen. On top of that, Nolan Kingham didn’t have his A game tonight, and it was evident early on in the game. I’m sure David Pierce is not one to make excuses about his team’s hitting performance, but they are playing a really good Cardinal team.
The Longhorns and Cardinal will return for game three Saturday at 2:30 P.M. CT. Texas will look to throw Blair Henley (2-0, 0.53 ERA) versus Stanford pitcher Erik Miller (0-1, 4.22 ERA). You can watch the game on Longhorn Network or listen on 104.9 the Horn.