Texas vs. Mizzou
The Longhorns took the first game against Missouri, but lost the final two games in the series. The Horn breaks down where Texas currently sits after dropping their last two series.
The No. 25 Texas Longhorns (27-18, 13-8) took game one of their series against the Missouri Tigers (25-22, 9-12) but were unable to win games two and three.
Friday saw Texas freshman Parker French ¬get the start. French threw 4.1 strong innings, collecting the win before exiting in the fifth with an elbow injury.
Texas scored first, in the second inning when Jacob Felts led off with a single. Alex Silver hit a sacrifice bunt to advance Felts to second, and shortstop Jordan Etier drilled a double into the gap to give Texas an early 1-0 advantage.
The ‘Horns tacked on two more in the second, by way of an Erich Weiss infield single followed by a Jonathan Walsh homerun over the left centerfield fence for the 3-0 lead. Texas then scored two more in the fifth thanks to a Walsh walk and steal with two outs. Felts then hit a double into the gap in left centerfield, driving in Walsh. Silver followed with an RBI single to give the Longhorns a 5-0 advantage.
However, the bottom of the fifth got a bit dicey for the ‘Horns. Missouri got runners on the corners with one out which led to French’s exit from the game. Hoby Milner came into the game to replace French. Milner balked, cutting the lead to 5-1, but was able to force a flyout and groundout to end the inning. Mizzou followed with two runs in the bottom of the sixth and one run in the seventh thanks to two Longhorn errors.
With the score 5-4, the Longhorns needed insurance and got it in the eighth inning. After two quick outs, Kevin Lusson reached base on a Missouri error and was able to advance to second on a Brooks Marlow single. Centerfielder Tim Maitland was then walked and Mark Payton was hit by the pitch forcing in a run to expand Texas’ lead to 6-4. From there Corey Knebel was lights out, picking up his ninth save of the season.
Dillon Peters started game two for the ‘Horns, but only last two and a third innings allowing four runs on five hits.
Texas got on the board first following a Payton double and Weiss homerun. Mizzou struck back to tie it at 2-2 in the bottom of the first, following an error by the Longhorns and a double. The Tigers then took a 3-2 lead via a home run by Scott Sommerfeld in the bottom of the second. Texas tied the game at 3-3 with a sacrifice fly by Weiss. Missouri then took the lead back with a double and RBI single in the bottom of the third inning, before Peters was pulled for Nathan Thornhill. Thornhill pitched five innings of solid relief, but allowed the eventual game winning run to get on base.
The ‘Horns tied the game yet again with a fourth inning sacrifice fly by Etier. The pitching duel then went back and forth until the eighth, when back-to-back hits by Mizzou made for the 5-4 final margin.
In game three, Texas took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third after pinpoint usage of small ball. Texas tacked on another run in the fourth by way of a Collin Shaw walk and Payton sacrifice bunt advancing both to second and third respectively after an error. A sacrifice fly by Weiss, gave Texas a two run cushion at 2-0. But the Tigers quickly took the lead with a three run homerun to make it 3-2. The Tigers added another run in the inning to make it 4-2 in favor of Mizzou throug¬h four.
Texas cut the deficit to 4-3, with the help of a Payton solo homerun in the top of the sixth inning. Mizzou answered with two in the bottom of the seventh by three consecutive hits, an error, and a fourth hit to expand their lead to 6-3. Texas responded as Etier walked with the bases loaded to cut it to 6-4. With two outs, Marlow singled to right field to tie the game at six apiece.
Texas then had several opportunities to score, but were unable to take advantage. In the 11th, Mizzou got two batters on the corners thanks to a single and an error. A sacrifice fly in the next at-bat drove in the game winning run and gave the Tigers the series on their way out of the Big 12.
Series Grade: C-
Texas dropped a series they absolutely shouldn’t have and are now tied with the Aggies for second in the Big 12. Texas lost this series thanks to uncharacteristic fielding (five errors in their two losses) and stranding ¬¬18 runners on base in the rubber match. Both of these numbers simply show that this team still struggles with the basics of Augieball. This team is young and should make strides to be great next season, but until then this year is purely about rebuilding for the future and a run to Omaha in 2013.