Baseball: Big Changes, But Texas Still Loses

The Horns could have had this one. The Horns should have had this one. They could feel the win, but they couldn't field it. Despite Augie Garrido's attempt to shake up the roster, Texas fell to Oklahoma State 2-1 in 11 innings Friday in Austin. The Horns slipped to .500 in Big 12 play and into a tie for fifth in the league standings.

Box Score

In the process, the Horns wasted perhaps the best effort from a Longhorn hurler all season. Freshman Chance Ruffin got the start and pitched 10 innings (the most by a Longhorn since Justin Simmons in 2002) and gave up only six hits and one run.

"Chance was brilliant. Their pitcher was brilliant. It was a good college pitching duel and the scoreboard shows the evenness of the teams," Garrido said.

The tie-breaker came in the top of the 11th when OSU's Matt Hague hit a hot grounder off of reliever Pat McCrory that second baseman Michael Torres couldn't handle, and the two-base error allowed Donnie Webb to charge home from third and put OSU up one going into the bottom of the eleventh. It was Torres' 16th error of the season.

"That was not an easy play by any stretch," Garrido said of Torres' error that gave the Cowboys the lead. "If he would have made that play, he would have made an incredibly hard play look easy."

The Horns went one-two-three in the bottom of the 11th and totaled just six hits on the night, none with runners in scoring position. DH Preston Clark accounted for the Horns' only run with his two-out solo shot in the bottom of the seventh that evened the score at one after the Cowboys pushed one across against Ruffin in the top of the seventh.

Texas threatened in the bottom of the ninth when Torres singled to lead off the inning, extending his hitting streak to 24 games tying Rick Bradley's 1974 record, followed by a one-out single from Russell Moldenhauer to put runners at the corners. But Kawika Emsley-Pai, pinch hitting for catcher Cameron Rupp, struck out and, after an intentional walk to Kyle Russell loaded the bases, Kyle Lusson grounded out to send the game to extra innings.

Freshman Cole Green (2-3) took the loss for giving up one run in a third of an inning after taking over for Ruffin in the top of the 11th. The win went to Matt Hague (1-0). Hague gave up three hits and one run in his three innings of work to close out the game for the Cowboys.

Despite the loss, Garrido called the game "a new beginning."

After watching his team lose three of its last four, including two embarrassingly lopsided defeats to Missouri and a mid-week loss to UT-Arlington, Garrido said he asked himself: "What can we do to turn this thing around?"

The Texas head coach determined that he needed to take a drastic step to develop a cohesive "nucleus" for the team.

So he sat down with four team "representatives" (leaders) and, as a group, they assessed each player on the roster. In the end, the team representatives and Coach Garrido came out with a mutually agreed list of 24 players that would continue suiting up. The others would be on the "B" team.

Garrido stressed the fact that these were not team cuts, but rather a strategy to identify and create a more cohesive team core. Those on the B list are still entitled everything that comes with being a University of Texas baseball player: work out equipment, doctors, team meals, etc.

Coach Garrido met with the team at 3:15 Friday and revealed the list and strategy to his players (Skip Johnson took care of the pitchers). The A team suited up, the B team didn't. Garrido expressed that it was not his place to go into the reactions of his players or explain which list players were on.

Garrido also stressed the fact that this was a joint decision between him and the four team reps, and the players currently being asked not to suit up can be reevaluated at team practices and be asked to suit back up. Realistically, there won't be time for a practice in the near future so reevaluation may be more of an idea than a possibility.

"Tonight was a new beginning," said Garrido. "We need a new beginning to get this rough patch behind us."

The Horns (23-14, 8-8) try again Saturday against OSU (25-11, 9-7) for a "new beginning" that also includes a win. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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