Texas' SS Kody Clemens tries to make a leaping snag of this line drive base hit by Lamar that lead to an early run in the second inning. The Texas Longhorn baseball team took on Lamar University in a non-conference game at UFCU Disch-Falk Field Tuesday night March 29, 2016. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Baseball

Texas ‘outplayed’ by Lamar in 4-2 loss

Posted March 29th, 2016

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Augie Garrido wasn’t happy.

Not after Texas was, in his words “outplayed” by Lamar Tuesday night in a 4-2 loss at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

How could the Longhorns perform this poorly after playing so well last week against TCU, a series they won? Texas had the momentum heading into Tuesday night, it had re-surging hitters and it had a reliable bullpen.

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That wasn’t enough.

Lamar, who improved to 17-7, had better execution, better at-bats, the better mindset.

“They hit the ball harder and more often in more directions throughout the entire night,” Garrido said. “They did a good job on offense and they did a good job from the mound.”

The Cardinals had 13 hits, the Horns had 7.

Nolan Kingham started for Texas (11-14). He had an easy 12-pitch first inning, followed by a rough 24-pitch second inning.

Kingham retired the first five batters he faced. Then Lamar’s Robin Adames doubled to left center and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Jacoby Middleton singled up the middle to give Lamar a 1-0 lead. Middleton advanced to second on a single, and made it 2-0 when Brendan Satran plopped a single to left center.

Lamar could have gone up 3-0 had it not been for left fielder Travis Jones. Stijn van der Meer singled to left and Chaneng Varela charged home, but Jones unloaded a strike from left field to throw him out at home.

Kingham pitched two innings and allowed two runs on five hits.

Texas answered in the third. Zane Gurwitz singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scampered to third when Lamar’s Jake Nash couldn’t field Jones’ grounder to third. Gurwitz scored to make it 2-1 when Kody Clemens executed a sacrifice bunt down the first base line.

The Longhorns then tied it in the sixth when Michael Cantu’s chopper single to left brought in Kacy Clemens, who had singled up the middle and advanced to second on a ground out to first.

With the game tied 2-2, it became a battle of the bullpens. Texas’ did its job well — having pitched six innings with no runs and six strikeouts — until the ninth, when it unraveled.

Varela singled to lead off the inning, and after a ground out, Van de Meer was intentionally walked to put runners at first and second. Nash’s line-drive single to center field scored both Varela and Van de Meer. That made it 4-2, which ended up being the final. The Longhorns, off to a 2-1 start in Big 12 play after the series win against the Horned Frogs, play a weekend series at Oklahoma.

“I think they were having a little trouble getting the curve ball and were leaning on the fastball,” Garrido said of his pitchers. “Almost all these teams are good enough that if they know a fastball’s coming, then they can hit it with these metal bats.”

Now comes the part that really disappointed Garrido about Tuesday: Texas had chances to grab the lead and seize momentum in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. But batters appeared to become too eager at the plate.

“When the momentum changes are about to occur is when we over-compete, and that’s when we strike ourselves out on ball four,” Garrido said. “And, again, tonight that was part of the process.”

That process, Garrido said, will be replicated in practice so players can gain confidence. So they can work on executing. So Garrido can see improvement. So he can be happy again.

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