It’s official. For tonight (and hopefully just for tonight), we no longer wave our undying support for the Texas Longhorns. Let me explain.
Tonight’s performance was not one that lives up to Texas standards. It included some shining moments, sure. But these were lost in a sea of failed moments and missed opportunities that ended up resulting in a game that slowly crept away from the Longhorns’ grasp.
Tonight’s game was tough, rough and messy on both ends. It was a lost opportunity to gain ground in the conference on a night where Texas Tech and Baylor both lost. It was a loss to an inferior opponent.
To put it succinctly, it was trash. And so for tonight, that makes us trash people.
Self-deprecating humor aside, the Longhorns dropped another conference game this year to the Kansas State Wildcats by a score of 6-4. To put this season into perspective - last year, Texas barely won the Big 12 on the final day of the season with a 17-7 record. This season has seen the Longhorns stumble out of the gates to a 4-5 conference record.
K-State jumped out to an early lead over Texas in the first inning, as starting pitcher Bryce Elder didn’t have his normal stuff to begin and got off to a slow start - an opening die-hard Texas baseball fans are unfortunately getting a little too familiar with.
The Wildcats plated a pair in the first off of two doubles. Elder escaped the inning somewhat lucky to have only given up two runs, with K-State coming out of the gates firing off three hits and a walk on Elder.
However, the veteran pitcher rebounded and pitched two solid innings of work in the second and third. The Longhorns joined the scoring party in the bottom of the third inning. With two outs, OBP superstar Duke Ellis was hit by a pitch, then subsequently stole second base to put a runner in scoring position. A Masen Hibbeler single through the ride side scored the speedy Ellis from second with ease, cutting into the K-State, 2-1.
The game would move along quickly, with the next bit of scoring action coming in the top of the sixth inning. Elder was cruising, having thrown four consecutive shutout innings and allowing only one base runner in that span.
But, Elder quickly ran into trouble off of a couple of mistakes to Wildcat batters. With one out, a weak single through the right side on a 0-0 count put a Wildcat on base with their first hit since the first inning. The next batter sent the very next 0-0 count pitch just a few feet over the left-center field fence, doubling the K-State score and pushing the lead to 4-1 Wildcats.
Elder worked his way out of the inning, and the Longhorns immediately grabbed those two runs back. Despite allowing just one hit and three walks through five innings, K-State turned to the bullpen and made a pitching change. The Longhorns jumped all over the new reliever, with Hibbeler notching a lead-off single only to be driven in moments later off an Austin Todd double.
With Todd at second base, Zach Zubia drew a walk to put another runner at first. Tate Shaw delivered what was, at the time, the biggest play of the game for the Longhorns - a single through the right side on a full count that brought the Texas deficit to just 4-3.
Kansas State added another run back to their lead in the next inning, and chased Bryce Elder from the game in doing so. A pair of singles sandwiching a walk and a sac bunt moved a runner across home for K-State and pushed their lead to 5-3.
The Wildcats added to that lead to go up three runs with a single and double in the top of the eighth off of Kolby Kubichek. Texas got that run back in the bottom of the eighth courtesy of an Austin Todd lead-off walk and Zach Zubia double. But the Longhorns were unable to do anything more after that, and ultimately fell to K-State by a final score of 6-4.
Texas will look to get back on track and play for a series win tomorrow, with first pitch set for 1:00 PM CT. You can catch the action live at the Disch, on Longhorn Network, or on the air through 104.9 The Horn.