The No. 4 Longhorns certainly gave the Toreros a fight, coming back with three runs in the ninth inning, but fell just short of the win. Even though the Horns didn't get the victory, Texas head coach Augie Garrido said there are a lot of good things can be taken away from the loss.
"The character of this team really showed itself at the end of the game," said Garrido. "You can teach the rest, you can't teach that."
Two innings in, the game was still scoreless. San Diego had managed to get three hits, but had no runs to show for it. That changed in the top of the third, however, when Snyder, the Torero's lead-off man, knocked one out of the park.
Bottom of the third, JC transfer Travis Tucker legged out an infield single for Texas as the ball dropped in between the first baseman, second baseman and pitcher. He then advanced to second on a passed ball and then to third when San Diego third baseman Kevin Hansen mishandled a grounder, putting runners at the corners with no outs. But after Chais Fuller and Nick Peoples struck out and Jordan Danks popped up, Texas again came away with nothing.
Tucker, who had three hits in his Longhorn debut, says a big a part of the Longhorns' lack of run production early was the performance of San Diego starter Brian Matusz.
"He really surprised us," said Tucker. "His change-up was really good. It looked like his fastball."
In the top of the fourth, the Toreros stuck again. Sean Nicol drove the ball right down the pipe to score Daniel Magness and San Diego took a 2-0 lead. Texas pitching coach Skip Johnson made his first trip to the mound in the 2007 season, but after a quick chat, decided to leave Randy Boone (0-1) in the game. Boone responded by getting Snyder to ground into fielders' choice, getting Texas out of the inning.
Continuing to nickel and dime the Horns, San Diego scored again in the top of the fifth with an RBI single from Shane Bruschini to score Josh Romanski and take a 3-0 lead.
"It's frustrating," said Boone. "I thought the homerun pitch was a good pitch. He (Snyder) just came around on it right. I thought I pitched well, but the results obviously don't show that."
Skip Johnson pulled Boone for Joseph Krebs and the senior LHP came in with runners at first and second and one out. A hit-and-run for San Diego scored Jordan Abruzzo and a single to left for Hansen past a diving Bradley Suttle scored Buschini as the lead was extended to five runs. Krebs struck out Nichol to end the madness.
Top six was a similar story as a sac fly for Abruzzo scored Justin Gelbrich and San Diego took their lead out to 6-0. Texas finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth when Tucker popped a blooper to right and scored Preston Clark on the RBI single.
The Longhorns scored again in the bottom of the seventh. Bradley Suttle hit into a fielder's choice to second and Nick Peoples made it home to narrow it to 6-2 San Diego.
But Texas was not done. The score didn't change until the ninth. Texas had two runners on with one out and DH Pat McCrory was at the plate. McCrory doubled to left, scoring Danks, but an errant throw by Hansen (officially his first error, but the bobbled ball in the third also should have been an E) allowed Suttle to come around and score. Kyle Russell grounded out to second, scoring McCrory, meaning that Texas was now down only a single run. Tucker was hit by a pitch and made his way to first base, bringing Chance Wheeless to the plate. But Wheeless' stuck out and the rally, as well as the game, was over.
"It's the first game of the season and we were really anxious," said Tucker. "Perhaps a little too anxious."
Boone got the loss as Texas dropped their first game of the year. Matusz (2-0) got the win for San Diego, the Toreros fourth of the year.
Texas Longhorn Starting Line-up
CF – 1 – Nick Peoples
LF – 15 – Jordan Danks
C – 7 – Preston Clark
3B – 10 – Bradley Suttle
DH – 28 – Pat McCrory
RF – 19 – Kyle Russell
2B – 24 – Travis Tucker
1B – 34 – Chance Wheeless
SS – 8 – Chais Fuller
The Longhorns have seven games remaining at the Dell Diamond before returning to UFCU Disch-Falk Field. Texas finishes the series with San Diego on Saturday and Sunday with both games scheduled for a 1 p.m. start. The Longhorns' first game back at the Disch will be Tuesday, February 20th at 2:30 p.m.
Texas' February Schedule
2/02 vs. San Diego 6-5 L #
2/03 vs. San Diego 1 p.m. #
2/04 vs. San Diego 1 p.m. #
2/06 vs. UT Arlington 3 p.m. #
2/09 at Long Beach State 8:30 p.m.
2/10 at Long Beach State 4 p.m.
2/11 at Long Beach State 3 p.m.
2/13 vs. UT Pan American 2:30 p.m. #
2/16 vs. Stanford 2:30 p.m. #
2/17 vs. Stanford 1 p.m. #
2/18 vs. Stanford 1 p.m. #
2/20 Texas State 2:30 p.m.
2/23 Washington State 2:30 p.m.
2/24 Washington State 2 p.m.
2/25 Washington State 1 p.m.
# - At the Dell Diamond (Round Rock, Tex.)