Baseball: Texas Falls Again

Is Augie Garrido's "new beginning" upon us? Not yet. It was the same story, different day at Disch-Falk Field Saturday. The Horns (23-15, 8-9) lost a two-run lead at the top of the ninth to fall 8-7 in game two against Oklahoma State (26-11, 10-7). The Horns' third straight loss dipped them below .500 in Big 12 play.

Box Score

"I know about this stuff because I've been here before with teams that have turned it around," said Garrido.

The Cowboys blasted out of the gate with a four-run first inning thanks to an RBI single by Donnie Webb and a two-out, three-run homer compliments of Neil Medchill. The Texas starter, freshman Brandon Workman, didn't last long on the mound after giving up four hits and four runs in the first two-thirds of the inning. Stayton Thomas took over and loaded the bases with a ball four to Thomas Belza. Webb, back again for more, cracked a line drive to second baseman Michael Torres that ended the inning and got Thomas out of the jam.

"(Workman) just didn't have it…he couldn't maintain consistency," Garrido said.

It took an inning, but the Horns' rebuttal knotted things up at the bottom of the second. With catcher Cameron Rupp and DH Preston Clark at the corners, a fielding error by short stop Jordy Mercer got Brandon Belt on the bags and sent Clark home.

Two batters later, a bases-loaded shot to center field by David Hernandez gave him an RBI and brought Texas one run closer. Travis Tucker batted himself into a fielder's choice that knocked Hernandez out at second and sent Belt home. Lusson took advantage of a wild pitch to take things up to 4-4 before a ground out by Torres ended the inning.

Belt led off the fourth inning with a shot over the right field wall that broke things up and kicked off a two-run fourth inning. In the fifth, an RBI by Hernandez with the Horns two-down in the inning gave the team a three-run advantage that carried to the top of the eighth.

OSU used the eighth to tack another run on and the Horns went into the top of the ninth with a two-run lead and heads held high.

Reliever Brandon Belt slid over from first base to the mound with two outs in the eighth and continued to the ninth with a quick close on his mind. Unfortunately for Texas, the OSU batters had other plans. A ball four to Luis Flores led off the inning and started a rally that was extended by a sacrifice bunt from Rebel Ridling that put two runners in scoring position with the tying run sitting at second.

Pat McCrory took the mound from Belt long enough to put pinch hitter Michael Dabbs two down in the count before giving him a single and two RBI. Belt took the ball back with one out, a 7-7 tie, and Dabbs on first. Dabbs quickly moved around the bags on a sacrifice bunt and a single and put OSU over Texas for the first time in the game. Next up, Belt fanned Jordy Mercer with one runner on to give the bats back to Texas with the one-run disadvantage.

The Longhorns went one-two-three in the bottom half of the inning and gave OSU its second win of the series.

"What looks like the darkest, gloomiest times can be changed," said Garrido. "(The silver lining) is that when it does turn around, you come out with a better attitude and are more determined to not go back where you've been."

There was more silver lining than that, though, for one player. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Michael Torres stroked a single up the middle that put him in the record books for having the longest hit streak by a Longhorn: 25 games.

"It's nice to know I set a record and it meant something for about five minutes until OSU started to pull ahead" Torres said laughing, "I think I'd rather have the win today."

Garrido has been telling his players all year that they have the tools to pull ahead from behind but the ability to rally has been allusive at the Disch. Although it may have been too early, Torres and Garrido pointed to the fourth and fifth innings as examples of the positives that came out of the game: capitalizing on momentum, team attitude in the dugout, coming from behind and scoring runs.

"Usually we score in the beginning and sometimes we score in the end, but it is the middle where we usually fail to continue scoring. That was something I think we did well today," Torres said.

The win went to reliever Robbie Weinhardt (2-0). Weinhardt only gave up one hit and faced four batters in the eighth, effectively shutting down the Horns' first comeback opportunity. Mercer got his sixth save of the year by striking out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth.

McCrory (0-1) was saddled with the loss for giving up a hit to the only batter he faced. Cole Green gave up only one run on five hits in his five and a third innings.

"Right now we are in the midst of poor performances," Garrido said. "(Coaching) is about finding the solution and giving the players confidence when things turn dark"

The Longhorns will try to avoid the sweep in their final game against OSU Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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