Often times, in order to succeed in baseball, you must keep a short memory.
I would be willing to bet those words were uttered from the mouths of Texas Longhorns head coach David Pierce and his coaching staff after getting blown out 8-1 on Friday night by the Stanford Cardinal.
Whatever Pierce said, it wasn’t enough as the No. 12-ranked Horns one again fell to the No. 6-ranked Cardinal on Saturday at Sunken Diamond, 4-2.
While they certainly didn’t get off to a thundering start on Saturday afternoon, the Longhorns were able to get a crucial first inning run after junior center fielder Duke Ellis led things off with a base hit and eventually reaching third after a pair of sacrifices.
Redshirt sophomore designated hitter Zach Zubia delivered the clutch hit of the inning after sending a seeing eye single back up the middle to bring home Ellis.
Junior right-hander Blair Henley got the start for the Longhorns looking to build off of two decent starts against Purdue and LSU. And, lets face it, this team needs Henley to be way better than decent.
Henley delivered with his best start of the season and looked comfortable and locked in for the first time in a long time.
The veteran worked quickly and attacked the strike zone for the entirety of his stellar outing. He was able to keep the Cardinal hitters off balance and guessing by mixing in a nasty breaking ball early in the counts.
Stanford put together a couple of threats early on in this contest, the biggest of which coming in the bottom of the fifth, with Stanford loading the bases.
With two outs Henley forced what appeared to be an inning ending ground ball to freshman shortstop Bryce Reagan.
Unfortunately the inning would not end there as Reagan, who has struggled mightily in the since being asked to take over for David Hamilton, was not able to come up with the easy grounder as the ball trickled into the outfield.
The error allowed two Cardinal runs to come across to score giving Stanford a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the sixth, Texas put a bases loaded rally together of their own but failed to bring a run home after freshman second baseman Lance Ford grounded out to end the threat. Ford came on to pinch hit in place of Reagan, who was pulled from the game for the second day in a row.
Ellis added another highlight reel play to his resume in the bottom of the sixth coming up with a beautiful diving catch to end the frame. If not for that catch, Stanford would have added another run. Starting to think “Clutch Ellis” is more fitting of a name. You heard it here first, folks.
Texas caught a huge break in the seventh after Ellis laid down a sacrifice bunt in attempt to move over freshman catcher Caston Peter, who reached base in the at bat prior. The bunt was cleanly fielded and Peter looked hung out to dry as the throw went to second.
The throw beat Peter by about half a step at least but somehow the umpire signaled him safe. It was unclear whether or not the Stanford shortstop was off the bag or not. Nonetheless, it was a huge break for the Horns.
The break was quickly erased as Peter was picked off just moments later as freshman left fielder Eric Kennedy was attempting to lay down a bunt.
Luckily the Longhorns were able to salvage the rally as Kennedy worked a full count walk and Zubia notched his second RBI of the game scoring Ellis, evening the score at two.
The game was not tied for long as Stanford quickly added two in the bottom half of the seventh after scoring two runs on a pair of sacrifice flies off of redshirt freshman right-hander Cole Quintanilla.
After a scoreless eighth, the Longhorns went quickly in the ninth, dropping game three 4-2.
It was a rough day for the Longhorns in the field as the team committed four errors — not exactly a recipe for success.
Final pitching lines for Texas:
Blair Henley: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R (unearned), 2 BB, 8 SO, 101 pitches
Mason Bryant: 0.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 pitches
Cole Quintanilla: 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 19 pitches
Matteo Bocchi: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 10 pitches
Texas moves to 12-5 on the season and will look to tie the series in the finale tomorrow with the first pitch scheduled for 3:05 p.m. Central.
Freshman right-hander Coy Cobb will toe the rubber for the Longhorns.