LESSONS TO BE LEARNED IN TCU SERIES WIN

There are lessons to be learned by Texas in the Longhorns' first Big 12 series win of the season over No. 6 TCU.

Perhaps the Longhorns learned something about themselves in winning the first two games of their series with the sixth-ranked Horned Frogs in Austin:

1) Texas bullpen can be dependable in big moments

2) Error-free games matter.

After solid performances from starting pitchers Morgan Cooper and Ty Culbreth in the first two games of the TCU series, the story became the Longhorns' bullpen.

In a 4-3 victory in Game 1, Travis Duke, Blake Wellmann, Chase Shugart, Josh Sawyer and closer Connor Mayes combined to provide 4.1 innings of scoreless relief after Cooper left the game (having given up 3 earned runs on four hits with three strikeouts and two walks).

In a 2-0 victory in Game 2, Culbreth provided 6.1 shutout innings and then handed the ball to Shugart, who promptly got the final two outs in the seventh. Lefty Josh Sawyer struck out the side in the eighth on just 11 pitches, and then Mayes took care of the ninth for his second save in as many nights.

Texas also did not have an error in Games 1 and 2 of the series, ending a 12-game string with at least one error.

The Horns, who have gone without an error in only four games all season and have 34 errors in 24 games, had 3 errors in a 9-5 loss to TCU in Game 3. Two of the three errors led to unearned runs scoring for TCU. A wild pitch by Jon Malmin in the top of the ninth also allowed a TCU run to score.

In Game 3 in the series, starter Kyle Johnston struggled and lasted only 2.1 innings after giving up 3 earned runs on 6 hits with two strikeouts and two walks. So it was all hands on deck out of the bullpen, and just about everyone struggled. Duke gave up a run. Nolan Kingham gave up 3 runs (2 of them earned). Shugart gave up a run as did Wellmann.

The performance of the Texas bullpen in games 1 and 2 was just what the Longhorns needed to start off Big 12 play - considering the late-game collapses by the bullpen recently in losses to Cal, UCLA and Texas A&M. And the bullpen needs to put that Game 3 performance against TCU behind them.

UP NEXT: The Longhorns (11-13, 2-1 B12) hit the road in Big 12 play this week with a trip to Oklahoma, which fell to 11-13-1 overall and 0-3 in league play after being swept last weekend by Texas Tech - 5-0, 6-1 and 13-7 - in Lubbock.

Right now, the Big 12 standings look like this:

Team ............................Big 12.........................Overall

Oklahoma State..............3-0 ..............................17-7

Texas Tech .................... 5-1.............................. 16-7

TCU ............................... 4-2 ............................. 18-5

Texas ............................. 2-1 ............................ 11-13

WVU .............................. 2-3 ............................  12-8

Baylor ............................ 1-2 .............................10-13

Kansas .......................... 0-2 .............................  7-13

Oklahoma ...................... 0-3 .......................... 11-13-1

Kansas St ...................... 0-3 ............................ 11-13


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