Here's a quick recap with plenty of notes, quotes, and highlights from the Texas Longhorns' 3-2 loss to the Kansas State Wildcats at Disch-Falk Field on Friday night.
A strong performance by Parker French wasn't enough to lift Texas.
How the Longhorns (23-21, 5-13 in the Big 12) lost:
Again, Texas couldn't crack the code of closing a ball game as they watched their one-run lead quickly fade away in the eighth. Kansas State would start the top of the inning with a lead-off double from Jon Davis. Travis Duke then came in to relieve Parker French and struck out R.J. Santigate. Duke left the door open for Kansas State when he sent Blair Debord on base following a walk. The lead faded for Texas after Ty Marlow replaced Duke and surrendered two runs. Texas failed to score in the ninth when Jake Matthys quickly came to the aid of Kansas State, closing it out after striking out Jacob Felts. Brooks Marlow then grounded out to second, then a strikeout by Jeremy Monalbano ended the game.
How the Wildcats (33-14, 10-6 in conference play) won:
Kansas State capitalized on what seems to be a growing trend for Texas; the inept ability to take the lead and keep it. However, the blame cannot all be pinned on the struggle to make contact with the ball. Texas also found a way to botch it's lead in the top of the eighth when Kansas State’s Mitch Meyer was the first to put his team in a situation to score as he popped a sacrifice fly that allowed Jon Davis to score from third that gave Kansas State a 1-0 edge. After trailing by one run in the top of the eighth, Kansas State would again find a way to dash the hopes of the struggling Horns. Ross Kivvet cranked a triple to right field allowing for catcher Blair DeBord and Jon Davis to reach home, giving Kansas State the 3-2 advantage.
Kansas State relief pitcher Jake Matthys secured the win with three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and five strikeouts.
It was over when...
Travis Duke gave up a triple with two outs remaining in the eighth inning allowing for two runs to score. Ty Marlow’s work lasted one inning giving him his first loss of the season.
The cupboard is bare here. However, French Parker did showcase effective pitching through seven innings, allowing only one run. He kept the Horns in the lead until the eighth inning when he was relieved by Travis Duke.
Travis Duke allowed his first earned run since March 22 against Minnesota. Before tonight, Duke had not allowed an earned run in 19.1 innings of work.
Texas head coach Augie Garrido announced before the game that closer Corey Knebel had been suspended for the Kansas State series for violating team rules.
The Horns still struggled to find the bags offensively even after the pitching staff kept the lead until the eighth inning of course when a triple put them in a hole of which they could not climb out. Kansas State stranded 11 runners, seven of which were in scoring position.
Stat of the Game:
Outfielder Mark Payton has reached base safely in 33 straight games. He went 1-3 for the against the Wildcats.
Story of the Night:
Texas has yet to win a Big 12 conference series this season. Texas has never played an entire season without a conference series win since its induction into the Big 12. No Texas baseball team has finished at the bottom of its league since 1956. All of that is in danger of coming to fruition if the Horns can't get it together in a hurry.
Augie Garrido on keeping his team focused for the rest of the season:
I don't think there is a lot that hasn't been said, but if you don't look for the opportunities [that] are in tomorrow's game, then you're missing the point completely. Baseball is a game of opportunity, but it can be a devastating game like it has been for this team. We've done a lot.
Garrido on his team not finishing close games:
They over-think what they need to be doing out there and again we find ways to botch it up. They try too hard. They lose their rhythm and timing because they try too hard.