After they held a team meeting, after they received back-to-back whippings from No. 7 Stanford and after their bats had been silenced by the Cardinal pitchers, the last thing the No. 23 Texas Longhorns needed was what happened Sunday afternoon: They got whipped again.
For five-plus innings, the Horns didn’t have a base runner as they suffered a third straight blowout, this one even more lopsided. After losing 11-1, they sat inside their clubhouse and met as a team, just as they had Saturday afternoon.
Texas coach David Pierce said “a lot” was discussed in Saturday’s meeting after UT lost 9-3. Who knows how much more was discussed this time. The Horns won a thriller in the first game of this series but lost the next three in a horrifying manner.
They don’t have much time to regroup because they will fly to Arkansas to face the No. 5 Razorbacks for a two-game series starting Tuesday.
“They’re embarrassed right now,” Pierce said of his players. “We had great fan support all weekend, and we just didn’t play well, and you can’t get by with mistakes and opportunities when they arise against good teams.”
Junior right-hander Chase Shugart got the call on a cool Sunday afternoon. Gusts up to 20 mph blew in the pitchers’ favor, which was good for UT (9-7) because its pitchers needed as much help as possible.
But even with the wind, Shugart (0-2), who had allowed 12 runs — 11 earned — and 18 hits in a little over 19 innings coming into the game, couldn’t stop the Cardinal players from crossing home plate.
The first batter Shugart faced, freshman Tim Tawa, reached on throwing error by junior shortstop Masen Hibbeler. A nagging right-shoulder injury to the usual shortstop, sophomore David Hamilton, prompted Pierce to start Hamilton at second. After a single and a strikeout, Shugart threw a belly-button high fastball to sophomore Andrew Daschbach. Even with the wind, Daschbach’s fourth home run of the season slammed off the back wall of the visitors’ bullpen.
“Chase didn’t have his location in the first, gave up the (home run), and then he located,” Pierce said.
Shugart held the Cardinal scoreless from the second to the sixth, which gave UT’s offense a chance to cut into the three-run deficit. But Stanford starter Brendan Beck had his best performance of the season against the Horns.
Beck was perfect for the first 5 2/3 innings, and UT’s hitters never made any solid contact with any of his pitches. They hit soft fly balls and weak grounders. When sophomore center fielder Duke Ellis singled up the middle with two outs in the sixth, the crowd cheered for the first time all day.
“Honestly, I thought their kid pitched well, but we were very undisciplined at home plate,” Pierce said. “We had a really poor approach for the type of weather we were playing in.”
Shugart left in the sixth after he hurt his left ankle while throwing a pitch. He was relieved by freshman Bryce Elder and then senior Jake McKenzie, who are Texas’ best two strike throwers from the bullpen, according to Pierce. Elder and Bryce combined to allow five runs — four earned — on four walks and only two hits.
“For whatever reason, it wasn’t good for them,” Pierce said.
After the last out was recorded, fans stood in the right field stands, hoping to greet the players and ask them for autographs. For the second straight game, after their third straight lopsided loss, the Longhorns held a team meeting in the clubhouse, trying to figure out solutions to problems that were exposed this weekend.