Starting pitcher Lucas Gordon threw six scoreless innings for the No. 10 Texas Longhorns, giving up only three hits, striking out eleven batters for the No. 8 Oklahoma State Cowboys, and only allowing two walks. He left the game in the top of the seventh inning with a 7-0 lead after giving up a single and a base-on-balls. Then, the wheels fell off the wagon as the Longhorn bullpen gave up 10 runs on five walks, two hit batters, two singles, a bases-clearing double and a grand slam, losing 10-8 on Sunday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in a sweep by the Cowboys.
After an 11-pitch, three-up, three-down inning from Gordon, Texas opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning. Center fielder Douglas Hodo, III led off the game with a double down the third-base line. Designated hitter Austin Todd then grounded into a fielder’s choice to the shortstop that moved Hodo to third base. With first baseman Ivan Melendez at the plate, Oklahoma State’s starting pitcher Victor Mederos balked to score Hodo from third, and give Texas their first lead of the series.
Gordon breezed through the top of the second inning striking out two of the four batters he faced.
As Mederos was throwing his warm-up pitches to start the second inning, his plant foot slipped on a wet and messy mound, and he appeared to injure his back, forcing him to leave the game. After a 14-minute delay to correct the issues on the mound, Oklahoma State head coach Josh Holliday had to go to his bullpen and bring in right-handed reliever Trevor Martin. With a large number of military personnel on hand to watch, the Longhorns offense launched its own aerial display to start the bottom of the second. On Martin’s fourth pitch, catcher Silas Ardoin got every bit of a hanging curveball and drove it over the left-field wall.
Four pitches later, third baseman Skylar Messinger crushed a Martin fastball that traveled 385 feet and cleared the wall in left-center field.
The next batter, right fielder Dylan Campbell, turned on a full-count curveball that just cleared the left-field wall and put the Longhorns up 4-0.
With two outs in the inning, Hodo came up with his second double of the game on a ball hit near the right-field corner. After a Todd walk, Melendez hit a humpback line drive that fell in front of a diving Cowboy right fielder to score Hodo from second base, and extend the Texas lead to 5-0.
Gordon continued to dominate the Cowboy batters over the next three frames, facing nine hitters and striking out five.
The Longhorns put up another crooked number in the bottom of the fifth inning. Todd led off with a triple into the left-center field gap that caromed off the left fielder’s glove and rolled to the wall. It was the first triple given up by Cowboys pitching all season. After a Melendez walk, right fielder Murphy Stehly hit a routine ground ball that went right between the legs of Cowboy third baseman Nolan McLean, allowing Todd to score and moving Melendez to second base. Messinger stretched the Texas lead to 7-0 by hitting a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Melendez.
Lucas seemed to tire in the top of the sixth giving up a single, a walk, and hitting a batter. He ended the inning by striking out hard-hitting Cowboy designated hitter Griffin Doersching with the bases loaded.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Holliday once again went to his bullpen and brought in right-hander Bayden Root, and the Longhorns failed to take advantage of a sloppy performance from the Cowboys relievers. Root hit Daly with his first pitch, but struck out shortstop Trey Faltine on a pitch in the dirt that got by catcher Ian Daugherty allowing Daly to move to second base. Hodo was hit by a pitch that moved Daly to second base. Root then uncorked a wild pitch that moved the runners to second and third. Root’s next wild pitch was so wild that it one-hopped the backstop wall and caromed directly back to Daugherty who was able to tag out Daly trying to score from third. Right-handed pitcher Roman Phalanskar came into the game and hit Melendez in the ribs with his first pitch to load the bases. Phalansker then struck out Stehly to end the inning and work out of the jam.
The fatigued Lucas started the top of the seventh inning by giving up single to Cowboys first baseman David Mendham and walking McClean. Longhorns head coach David Pierce then went to the bullpen, and things got ugly from there. Right-handed pitcher Zane Morehouse came in to face pinch hitter Brett Brown. After getting ahead in the count 1-2, Morehouse hit Brown with the next pitch to load the bases. He then walked the next batter on four pitches to gift the Cowboy’s their first run of the game. After inducing a pop up from the next batter to Messinger for the second out of the inning, Morehouse hung a 1-2 breaking ball to Cowboy leadoff batter Roc Riggio who drove it off the right-center field wall to clear the bases, cut the Texas lead to 7-4, and chase Morehouse from the game.
Right-handed reliever Coy Cobb came into the game and threw thirteen pitches. He hit Cowboys center fielder Zach Erhard, walked left fielder Jake Thompson to load the bases, and then hung a curveball that Doersching absolutely crushed over the left-field wall for a grand slam that put the Cowboys in front 8-7.
Jared Southard was the next pitcher out of the bullpen for the Longhorns. He faced two batters and walked them both on 11 pitches. With still only one out in the inning, lefty Luke Harrison was called into the game. He struck out the first batter he faced for the second out of the inning. The next batter drove a single into right field to score one run, and, with the trail runner heading to third base, the throw from the outfield hit Messinger in the glove, but the runner’s leg dislodged the ball and sent it over toward the Cowboy’s dugout allowing the 10th run of the inning to score for Oklahoma State. Harrison managed to get the next batter to ground out to Messinger to end the inning.
The Longhorns scored the in the bottom of the eighth inning on Faltine’s only hit of the series, a solo home run to left field.
Phalansker got the win for the Cowboys, and McClean got his second save of the weekend. Cobb took the loss for Texas.
The Longhorns return to UFCU Disch-Falk field on Tuesday to face the Houston Baptist Huskies. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Central and will be televised on Longhorn Network.