Baseball: Owls Take Down Texas

When the first two plays of the game involve the exact same error by the exact same player, it could be taken either as a rough patch or an omen. Coupled with three more errors and ten Ks in four innings, it was definitely the latter in the Longhorns' 7-3 loss against Rice Tuesday night at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

Box Score

Two lofty shots into deep left field took the same bounce off of Michael Torres' glove to start off the first inning with consecutive two-base errors.

"I was playing kind of far back and immediately started going back more when the ball was hit," Torres said. "(Center fielder) Jordan (Danks) was yelling ‘move in' but it dropped and I just didn't make it in time."

Torres may have made up some ground with an over-the-shoulder snag that ended the top of the fifth. Although he currently has UT's longest hit streak (fourteen games), he also leads the team with eleven errors. Torres, who has self-admittedly struggled on offense, said post-game that he prefers being a little closer to the action.

"I'm most comfortable at second base," he said. "I've always played infield"

The Owls rode the consecutive two-base errors to an early first inning 1-0 advantage but it didn't last long. A short pop to third base by DH Russell Moldenhauer followed by Preston Clark being beaned gave freshman Tant Shepherd the chance to hit a quick single up the middle and get two RBI. A single through the right side by Torres gave Shepherd a chance to cross the plate and give the Horns a 3-1 lead before Junior Travis tucker ended the inning with a fly to left field.

A double to right center field by Owl shortstop Rick Hague gave him an RBI and put another run on the board for Rice in the third. Things got all tied up in the sixth when Jimmy Comerota knocked in first baseman J.P. Padron with a single to short center field.

Rice used two errors by Shepherd at third base to pull ahead of the Horns in the seventh. The first botched throw from third to first let Rice left fielder Aaron Luna reach first. Shepherd's second throwing error to first base let Adam Zornes turn a single to a double and Luna advance from third to home.

"My job is to field it and throw it to first and I just didn't do that," Shepherd explained.

Texas found it is tough to play catch-up if you can't get your bat on the ball. Matt Evers took over for starting pitcher Mike Ojala in the fourth and struck out ten (non-consecutive) Horns in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. Overall, Texas only had three hits and went scoreless in eighth innings.

"We had trouble trying to recognize the fastball, the curveball, etc.," head Coach Augie Garrido said. "He mixed the pitches in and away and I think it hurt our confidence."

In the ninth, Rice sealed the deal with three RBI and one more error by Shepherd that let Zornes reach first. The Longhorns failed to use the bottom of the inning to make up any slack.

"We've been trying to play in a way to let the good hitters pick us up on the offensive side when we make mistakes and they haven't done it," Garrido said.

Evers got the win for the Owls and Chance Ruffin got the loss. Ruffin held the mound for four innings and got a career-high six strikeouts. Starter Brandon Workman gave up three of Rice's seven hits in his 2.2 innings. Junior Pat McCrory followed Ruffin on the mound before Brandon Belt slid over from first and finished out the ninth.

"The pitchers always look responsible but they weren't, they did well," Garrido said. "Losing is doing the wrong thing at the right time and winning is simply doing the right thing at the right time."

Next, Texas moves on to Texas Southern on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

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