Here's a quick look, with plenty of notes, quotes and highlights from the Texas Longhorns' 1-0 loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders in front of 6,550 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin on Friday night.
Mark Payton and the Longhorn batters couldn't come up with a timely hit in Friday night's 1-0 loss.
How the Red Raiders (13-7, 1-0 Big 12) Won
Texas Tech got a great performance from starter Dominic Moreno, and two solid innings from Jerad McCrummen to keep the seventh-inning solo home run by designated hitter Jarrard Poteete as the difference in the game. Moreno was getting a lot of movement on his fastball and stymied the Longhorn hitters to the tune of four hits and two strikeouts through seven innings. McCrummen came in to start the eighth inning - when Texas was sending the top of its lineup to the plate - and recorded three strikeouts and three ground outs, including the game ending ground out to second by Matt Moynihan with the tying run standing on third base.
How the Longhorns (11-6, 0-1 Big 12) Lost
Texas had ample opportunities to put a run on the board, but it couldn't come up with the timely hit to make it happen on Friday. Texas got runners on in each of the first three innings, but couldn't even get them past second. The Longhorns threatened in the sixth and seventh, getting two runners on in each inning, but they again failed to come through with runners in scoring position. Texas would strand eight batters on the day and finished 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
It has to go to Moreno. Despite entering the game with a 1-1 record and a 4.79 ERA, the sophomore transfer did everything right during his seven innings of work. Texas never could get a beat on him and struggled to get balls out of the infield until late in his outing. Texas slapped some shots to right field pretty well as Moreno stayed in the game, but right fielder Devon Conley made a couple fantastic catches in the outfield to keep the Longhorns from putting together a potentially game-altering rally.
It Was Over When...
Moynihan grounded out to second for the final out of the game. Despite Texas not being able to get anything going for the vast majority of the night, Mark Payton and C.J Hinojosa started the final inning off with back-to-back hits to put pressure on the Red Raiders and give hope for a walk-off win. Pinch hitter Alex Silver came in and laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to third to advance the runners. With one out Augie Garrido decided to leave Jacob Felts in the game with confidence his catcher could give a productive out and score Payton from third, but Felts struck out swinging for the second out, taking the game-tying sacrifice out of the equation. Moynihan came in and worked a 3-1 count, but his grounder to second ended any chance of a dramatic Longhorn win.
Parker French had a great outing, albeit the shortest one of the season for the sophomore. He held Texas Tech to just two hits through six innings on 82 pitches in his fifth start of the season. Texas' ace induced eleven ground-ball outs and struck out four batters to give the Horns an opportunity to win their sixth straight game. He left the game early with tightness in his right (throwing) forearm. Though he told the coaches he could stay in the game, his delivery started turning into a submarine motion and Garrido and pitching coach Skip Johnson didn't want to take any chances on their Friday night starter.
The bottom third of the Texas lineup went a combined 1-for-9 on the day and was 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position. Finding productive hitters at the bottom of the order has been an ongoing process for Garrido, and the trio of Jacob Felts, Madison Carter and Brooks Marlow didn't look like the answer in the Big 12 season opener.
Texas reliever Josh Urban was called to the mound with one out in the top of the eighth with Red Raiders on first and second base after Erich Weiss misplayed a ball at third and reliever Toller Boardman hit the only batter he faced. Urban proceeded to strike out the next two Tech batters to end the inning and then kept it rolling in the ninth, striking out the side. The junior from Dripping Springs missed virtually all of last year with an injury and only had two strikeouts in 3.1 innings pitched this season entering today. Against Texas Tech he looked like he could be on his way back to being the same guy that struck out 23 as a sophomore in 2011.
It has to be Texas taking advantage of opportunities. This isn't the first time we've talked about it, which makes it even more disappointing. The Longhorns have done very well at getting guys on base, but they've struggled at finding ways to bring guys home, especially in tight ball games. A lot of that has to do with the lack of a hitting punch in the bottom of the lineup, but before the ninth inning the heart of Texas' order (Erich Weiss, Mark Payton and C.J Hinojosa) weren't getting the job done on Friday night, either.
Stat(s) of the Night
Again, the Longhorns were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position... Hinojosa's ninth-inning bunt single extends his hitting streak to eight games... Texas is 0-5 in games when they've trailed after the seventh inning.
Story of the Night
Parker French and Dominic Moreno went after it for six innings. Only three Longhorns got to second base in the first eight innings before threatening in the ninth. French put the Red Raiders down in order in every inning except for an erratic fourth. Once he was pulled, Ty Marlow gave up the solo shot in the seventh for the lone run of the game. Texas had numerous opportunities throughout the game to make up for that one run, but the Horns simply couldn't find open space in the field to drop a run-scoring hit at any point.
Augie Garrido on moving on from a tough loss:
"When you do your best - which I think our team did - it breaks your heart when you lose like that. So now do we have the grit to continue to believe in ourselves and to continue to stay with the plan or are we going to try harder so that we win the game? And if we try harder we'll fail. If we come back and play our game and maintain our self control and perform the way the team has been performing we'll give ourselves the best possible chance to win."
Garrido on Moreno:
"It was a tough loss, but hats off to their pitcher. He did a good job of keeping the ball down in the zone and getting ahead on the hitters. And when we hit him it didn't take him out of his game. He kept competing."
Garrido on French's arm:
"The trainer does not think at this point that it's anything serious, but we want to get that muscle loosened up."
Garrido on Urban:
"He's worked really, really hard to put himself in the best shape of his life. And he believes he should win, because he's put in the time, he's put in the effort, and that confidence showed tonight."
Parker French on his arm:
"It'll be fine. It'll be worked on throughout the week."
French on moving on from a tough loss:
"We'll be back tomorrow. Don't worry. This team has a lot of experience. We've been through a lot together. We'll put tonight behind us pretty quickly."
Josh Urban on his outing:
"It felt good to get back on the mound. I finally had my arm slot back. Got in a little rhythm. I picked some people up - they've been picking me up all season so it feels good to return the favor."