First pitch was at 5:05 p.m. but Texas didn't look ready to play until well after 6:00 in its Tuesday night 5-3 loss to Sam Houston State.
Augie Garrido's Longhorns came out flat against Sam Houston State Tuesday night at The Disch.
The Longhorns came out looking incredibly flat in front of the very generously announced crowd of 4,987 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. Texas (6-2) came into the ballgame after sweeping Nebraska last weekend and with a big showdown in Palo Alto, Calif. this weekend against No. 15 Stanford on the horizon.
There are a lot of new faces playing significant roles on this year's Texas baseball team, and with the first road trip of the season coming up against a nationally ranked opponent, it's easy to see how the Horns could have come into this mid-week contest against a non-power conference team thinking more about the Cardinal than the Bearkats.
Augie Garrido had has his players to stay in the clubhouse afterward to talk to each other to flush out what exactly happened to be so unprepared to play from the opening pitch against Sam Houston State. While he won't admit his players were caught looking ahead, he knows it's a conversation that needs to be had.
"Whether that's true or not, they know better than I do," he said.
Whatever the young Longhorns were thinking about on a chilly evening in Austin, it sure wasn't the Bearkats. At least not until they were already behind.
"Early in the game we might not have been ready," junior right fielder Mark Payton said.
That's an understatement.
Sam Houston State pitcher Tyler Eppler retired the first 12 Texas batters he faced before Payton - the lone Longhorn with multiple hits with a 3-for-4 night - led off the fifth inning with a base hit. Eppler was locating his off-speed pitches well and keeping things down, and in what may be becoming an alarming trend it took the Texas batters far too long to adjust at the plate.
Texas right-hander Cameron Cox made his first career start as a Longhorn, and just like the batters it took him a while to get into a groove.
Sam Houston State (4-4) hit Cox hard from the start, and capitalized with two runs in the second when Hayden Simerly and Ryan O'Hearn smashed a double and triple, respectively, to right field.
In the fourth it was Spence Rahm who got a hold of a 1-0 pitch from Cox and sent it over the left field fence to give SHSU a lead, 3-0, they would never lose.
Texas closed the gap in the sixth when Matt Moynihan blasted a 2-0 pitch off of the right field wall, scoring left fielder Ben Johnson. Taylor Stell then followed that up with an RBI ground out to short to bring the score to 3-2, but that was as close the the Horns would get all night.
The Longhorns were embarrassed at Stanford a year ago, losing three games by a combined score of 28-4. This weekend, especially after the poor performance Tuesday, is a huge early test for a Texas ball club ready to prove it's back after a disastrous 2012 season.
"If you see the team grow from [this game] it was an important loss," Garrido said. "If you see the team start to doubt themselves and not be able to figure it out, then we have a different group of guys than we thought we had."