Baseball: Short-Handed Horns Drop Tourney Opener

Augie Garrido earned a sixth inning ejection for arguing an umpire's call and watched the final three innings of UT's Big 12 Tournament opener from the clubhouse. The way his team played, he probably wished he'd been run earlier.

With No. 1 starter Kyle McCulloch and starting catcher Taylor Teagarden back home in Austin, No. 3 seed Texas opened Big 12 Tournament play like a team missing two of its top players, dropping immediately into the loser's bracket of the double-elimination tourney with a 10-4 loss to No. 6 seed Oklahoma State.

Freshman Adrian Alaniz, who hadn't started a game since May 8 at Kansas, lasted just 4-1/3 innings, giving up eight hits and five runs to shoulder the loss. The Longhorn relief pitching wasn't any better. Clayton Stewart failed to hold the Cowboys in check after Texas cut the OSU lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth on a Todd Gilfillan two-run homer. Stewart gave up two runs in the top of the seventh before being replaced by Buck Cody, who just added fuel to the fire with two wild pitches and three consecutive walks, allowing two more runs to score. Jordan Street mercifully closed out the inning, but not before his wild pitch allowed OSU to push its advantage to 10-2.

"We always get into situations like this in games like this," Garrido said post-game. "Whose fault is it? Is it good hitting or bad pitching? Is it good offense or is it bad defense? You get into those struggles. I think it was a combination of all those things. We made some untimely defensive errors. Pitching and defense has been the go to strength of our team. We really did not demonstrate that today."

OSU ace Thomas Cowley picked up the win despite a shaky start.

Texas loaded the bases twice in the first three frames but failed to push across even a single run as Longhorn batters watched called third strikes from Cowley with the bases full in both the first (Will Crouch) and third (David Maroul).

The Cowboys jumped on top in the second with a single run off of Alaniz and added to their advantage with one in the fourth and three in the fifth.

The Horns tried to claw back in the game with a two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth, sparked by a nice plate appearance from Nick Peoples. Peoples worked a 1-2 count to 3-2 and then singled, and Gilfillan followed with his first collegiate long ball to trim the Okie State lead to 5-2. But the disastrous top of the seventh followed.

Texas out-hit the Cowboys (12-11) but the clutch hits off the Burnt Orange bats were lacking for most of the day. Seth Johnston paced the Horns with three hits in four at-bats. Three different OSU batters drove in two runs apiece.

"I think we are going to respond well," Gilfillan said. "We know what we have to do. We just need to go out there and play how we know how to play. We need to relax and have fun. Tomorrow is a different day."

Texas (43-13) will face the loser of the Baylor-Kansas game Thursday morning at 10 a.m. in an elimination contest. Randy Boone is expected to take the hill for the Horns. Oklahoma State gets the winner between the Bears and Jayhawks at 5 p.m.

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