Spin that broken record, Mr. UFCU Disch-Falk disc jockey: Texas lost another one-run game.
An inability to build or preserve a lead was once again the theme in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Tulane in the weather-delayed series opener.
Through 18 contests, the Longhorns (7-11) have already had seven one-run games, and they’ve managed to win just one of them, falling well short of the thin line between good and, well, not so good.
In the final tuneup before Big 12 play starts next week, UT was 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position and scored both of its runs on RBI groundouts.
Worse, UT fell to 5-8 at home.
Friday’s persistent lightning pushed the final seven innings to Saturday, with the score knotted at 1-1. Connor Mayes, the usual Sunday starter, replaced Kyle Johnston and was at times dominant through six innings, striking out eight and walking two. Mayes had just one major blemish, a two-run blast by Tulane No. 8 hitter Jarret Dehart in the seventh inning. It was the first career home run for Dehart, a junior, whose shot cut through gusting wind and carried over the UT bullpen in right field and onto Comal Street.
Tulane (12-6) got just five hits, three fewer than Texas. The difference was in the timing of those hits, as Texas was a putrid 3 for 16 with runners on base. Hoping to build on the 2-1 lead Tres Barrera provided with a third-inning groundout, the Horns came up short time and time again. In the fourth inning, Zane Gurwitz struck out with runners on second and third. An inning later, Patrick Mathis grounded out to second for the third time after Travis Jones stole third. Gurwitz flied out in the sixth and again left two runners on.
Texas never got another runner on base, flummoxed by left-hander Ross Massey, Tulane’s usual Tuesday starter, who worked all seven innings Saturday and struck out seven.
Massey’s brother, Alex, started on the mound in Saturday’s second game against UT’s Ty Culbreth.
Curiously, Longhorns coach Augie Garrido pinch-hit for Kacy Clemens in the ninth even though Clemens had two hits, including a double, in his two at-bats against Massey. Jake McKenzie, who came up with one out, tapped softly to second.
The loss overshadowed some positives.
Travis Jones continues to produce in the leadoff spot, pounding out two hits, including a hustling double to start the third. Mathis made his first start in right field since tweaking his hamstring Feb. 25 and chased down a fly ball with no setbacks. Gurwitz covered ground in center, making a quasi-diving catch in the seventh. Clemens reached base for the 15th straight game.
For Tulane, Jeremy Montalbano, a designated hitter who played his first two seasons at Texas, was 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout.