With five games remaining, the Texas Longhorns welcome the Texas State Bobcats to UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday evening in a reprise of the matchup two weeks ago before the Horns take a week off for finals.
In San Marcos, the Bobcats pulled out a walk-off victory as the Longhorns relievers failed to hold onto a late lead after sophomore Ryan Reynolds hit a grand slam in the seventh inning to key a five-run frame. As has happened too often in recent weeks, however, head coach David Pierce wasn’t able to find a reliever capable of closing out the game.
The game against Texas State was the fourth loss in what became a six-game losing streak. Since then, Texas has only one once, a Sunday victory at home against West Virginia the following weekend, and currently sits in the midst of another four-game slide.
For coaches and players, especially in a brutal game of failure like baseball, bad luck can quickly metastasize into pressing across the board. It happened for offensive coordinator Tim Beck and his players in 2017, by Beck’s public admission, and it’s clearly happening for Pierce and his team right now.
In what may be a desperate attempt to spark some life in his time or a desire to start looking ahead to next season — or both — Pierce will roll out his most experimental lineup after spending most of the last month trying to find the right buttons to push.
Reynolds is starting at shortstop with senior Masen Hibbeler and freshman Bryce Reagan out of the lineup, while typical first baseman, sophomore Sam Bertelson, moves across the diamond to third base. Meanwhile, sophomore Zach Zubia will see time in the field at first base instead of serving in the designated hitter role, while freshman Peter Geib will receive his seventh start despite batting .087 on the year.
On the mound, freshman Coy Cobb will make his 10th start as he tries to work out of a recent funk — he hasn’t had much success since moving out of his Sunday starter role, with his last start only lasting three innings last week and featuring five walks. He needs to find the strike zone.
First pitch is at 6:30 p.m. Central on Longhorn Network and 104.9 The Horn. However, storms in the area could impact the start time and the ability to play the game at all.
Update (8:10 p.m. Central): The game was canceled after a rain delay of close to two hours and won’t be made up.