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Rally falls short as No. 8 Arkansas drops Texas 3-2

The Longhorns struck out 13 times and only managed five hits in the season-opening defeat.

Texas baseball

The bats never got going for the Texas Longhorns in Friday’s 3-2 to the No. 9 Arkansas Razorbacks at Globe Life Field in the College Baseball Showdown.

Texas struck out 13 times and only managed five hits on the evening while going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

Arkansas left-hander Hagen Smith, whose fastball reached 97 miles an hour, was efficient in the early innings, avoiding any damage from leadoff runners in the first and second, eliminating the runners with two double plays. Over the next two innings, Smith struck out five without allowing a baserunner.

Texas finally threatened in the fifth inning as catcher Garret Guillemette and second baseman Jack O’Dowd both drew walks to open the frame. Shortstop Mitchell Daly advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt, but first baseman Jared Thomas struck out for the second time on a slider from Smith, as did third baseman Jalin Flores.

For Texas left-hander Lucas Gordon, getting outs quickly was more difficult. Following a 1-2-3 first inning, Gordon allowed a one-out walk and a one-out single in the second before retiring the side with consecutive strikeouts. Gordon had to battle through the third, too, with right fielder Dylan Campbell saving a run with a catch in deep right-center field. Even another perfect inning cost Gordon 16 pitches before the California product got through the fifth with less effort, leaving him at 84 pitches, roughly in line with head coach David Pierce’s pregame plan for Gordon.

Right-hander Lebarron Johnson entered the game in place of Gordon for the sixth inning, leaving Gordon’s final line at two hits and one walk over five innings with six strikeouts and zero runs allowed. Johnson retired the first batter before two extended at bats that resulted in a single and a walk, but escaped the jam by inducing an inning-ending double play started by Daly.

In the seventh, Johnson got into trouble again by allowing back-to-back singles to start the inning, ending Johnson’s outing in favor of left-hander Chris Stuart, who walked the bases loaded on a full count. A single past Flores at third base scored the first two runs of the game before an RBI double added to the lead for the Razorbacks and a walk loaded the bases again. Two straight strikeouts by Stuart limited the damage.

The first run of the season for the Longhorns came in the eighth inning when left fielder Porter Brown hit a home run to right field on the 10th pitch of the at bat, battling bat from being down 0-2 and fouling off six pitches.

Guillemette followed with a double down the left-field line to chase Arkansas reliever Cody Adcock. The Texas catcher advanced to third on a groundout by second baseman Jack O’Dowd and then scored on a wild pitch.

Stuart left the game after allowing a leadoff double on a hanging 0-2 slider, giving way to right-hander Andre Duplantier, who retired the first two batters he faced and then got out of the inning with a fielder’s choice groundout after he hit a batter.

Two one-out singles in the bottom of the eighth inning put runners on first and second for Campbell, who struck out in his first three at bats and had to face the Arkansas closer after a pitching change. Campbell struck out for a fourth time. A double steal put the runners on second and third for Brown, who also went down swinging to end the threat.

Duplantier retired the the first two batters in the ninth and appeared to be out of the inning by inducing a grounder to shortstop, but Daly’s throw was off target, extending the frame. The runner advanced to second on a wild pitch before getting stranded there by a strikeout.

Guillemette and O’Dowd grounded out to start the inning, leaving Daly at the plate down to the final out. He struck out swinging to end the game.

Texas faces Missouri at 3 p.m. Central with right-hander Zane Morehouse on the mound. The Tiger lost to the No. 9 Cowboys 5-3 on Friday.