Two-and-‘cue is never a desired outcome especially for Longhorns baseball. A 3-2 loss to Kansas followed by a 3-1 loss to Oklahoma has the Longhorns leaving Oklahoma City much earlier than expected.
Elimination from the Big 12 Tournament is not a positive data point, but for me it comes down to this: two games shouldn’t supersede a season’s body of work when it comes to hosting.
Nolan Kingham was tagged for three earned runs Thursday, one as the result of a RBI single that got past Ryan Reynolds, one as a result of an opposite field solo home run from OU’s nine-hole, .150 batting left fielder, and another from a fifth inning RBI double.
Chase Shugart, Josh Sawyer, and Parker Joe Robinson pitched well in relief, but the Texas bats simply couldn’t take advantage of opportunities.
In the first, Texas had runners on the corners with one out. No runs came from it. In the third, Texas had a runner on second with one out. A double play erased the threat. In the fourth, the Longhorns had a runner on second with nobody out. No runs again.
The lone run came in the fifth, when Texas had the bases loaded with nobody out. Duke Ellis grounded into a double play that scored one, but the victory proved slightly Pyrrhic when Kody Clemens struck out looking to prevent a multi-run inning.
Oklahoma’s bullpen threw seven innings of one-run ball, allowing just six hits and walking two.
David Pierce was ejected by the home plate umpire in the sixth inning for arguing balls and strikes, but likely also for issues with the umpiring in general. Earlier in the inning, the first base umpire missed a call when OU’s Thomas Hughes was shown to have missed the bag short with his first step. He dragged his foot across the bag, but not before Jake McKenzie fielded a throw. He was still ruled safe.
Later that inning, Cade Harris walked on a 3-2 pitch that looked similar to a previously called strike that retired a Longhorn. It didn’t take many words for the umpiring crew to eject Pierce.
The ejection did little to inspire the Longhorns as they failed to record a hit from the sixth inning on.
Two-and-‘cue is disappointing, and it definitely doesn’t help the chances to host. It shouldn’t hurt it enough to prevent three teams from heading to Austin next weekend. D1Baseball’s Kendall Rogers thinks(1) the same(2). Pierce thinks the same.
“The parity of this league is proven in the tournament every year, and I think at minimum five teams should advance to regional play, up to seven, with two hosts,” he said.
It isn’t good that the Longhorns have left it into others’ hands. It isn’t good that the bats performed woefully in the past two games.
It shouldn’t cost Texas a regional. After all, they did win the No.2 RPI conference.