The No. 5 Texas Longhorns lost to No. 2 Rice, 7-4, at home Tuesday night, losing their fourth-straight to the Owls and ending a 10-game win streak.
It’s not just about getting runners on base, it’s about getting them home.
On the night, Texas totaled 17 hits or walks (five hits, 12 walks), but only managed four runs while the Rice Owls totaled 13 (all hits) and brought seven across home plate.
“We were a couple of hits away from winning the game,” said Texas head coach Augie Garrido. “(Rice) hit three balls inside the line by inches and we hit three balls outside the line by inches.”
Despite the thirteen hits given up, Garrido said the loss had as much to do with fielding as the five pitchers Texas sent to the mound.
“It would appear that it was the pitching but we let outs go in almost every inning we typically make,” said Garrido.
Only one fielding mistake by the Horns was scored as an error, but there were a number of other mistakes hidden in game, such as third baseman Michael Torres going to first with one out instead of getting the lead runner at home, a miscommunication on a fly ball, line drives squeezing past the corners and more.
“It was uncharacteristic,” said Garrido. “How that happens, who knows? If there was some secret recipe we could bottle up and give to the players in a pre-game meal, then we would never have these things happen.”
There seemed to be just as many missed opportunities at the plate. In three different innings (1st, 4th, 8th), Texas had runners on first and second with no outs…and came away with zero runs scored.
“We didn’t do the little things right, we didn’t capitalize on situations we usually capitalize on and we didn’t do our jobs,” said second baseman Travis Tucker.
With the Owl pitchers walking 12 Longhorn batters, there were certainly opportunities, but only four Texas batters managed a hit during the game and only one batter, catcher Preston Clark, got more than one hit. Clark finished 2-for-3 with one RBI and one walk.
Five Texas pitchers stepped onto the mound Tuesday, but only Chance Ruffin came away unscathed. Ruffin pitched the final inning and two-thirds for Texas and didn’t surrender any more runs, but the damage had already been done. Starter Cole Gree (3-1) was saddled with the loss, giving up two runs on three hits during the first two innings of the game. Rice reliever Travis Wright (3-0) was credited with the win for being on the mound when the Owls went on their early-game offensive tear, scoring runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings.
With the loss, Texas fell to 29-9 on the year while Rice improved to 28-10. Up next for the Longhorns is a three-game weekend set against Kansas State. First pitch for Friday’s game is set for 6:00 p.m. at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.