Numerous errors reason Horns slip against UTA

Christian Corona

For the second consecutive game, uncharacteristic defensive miscues kept Texas from winning.

The Longhorns committed errors in the third and fifth innings that each led to multiple runs as No. 12 Texas (2-2) lost to UT-Arlington (3-1), 7-5, Tuesday night at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. The defeat also marks the first time since 2008 that the Longhorns have lost consecutive home games.

Sophomore third baseman Erich Weiss threw the ball past first baseman Kevin Lusson after fielding a slow ground ball in the third inning, which was followed by a sacrifice bunt. The next three Mavericks batters pounded out extra-base hits, including a two-run home run by right fielder Preston Beck, the first hitter freshman pitcher Dillon Peters faced Tuesday. The blast gave UTA a 5-3 lead that it would not give up.

“It was a poor performance,” said Texas head coach Augie Garrido. “We gave them lots of extra outs within the framework of an inning. We gave them a lot of extra bases, which leads to runs. And we didn’t have any timely hitting at all.”

After a double steal by the Mavericks in the fifth inning, they extended their advantage when another Weiss throw went off Lusson’s glove, allowing both baserunners to score, giving UTA a commanding 7-3 lead. A furious ninth-inning rally cut that lead to 7-5 but had the Longhorns played better defense in the early stages of the contest, a comeback would not have been necessary.

In two wins this season, Texas hasn’t committed any errors, while it has racked up four errors in its two losses, a pair for each defeat.

“You’re going to make errors every now and then, but you’ve got to keep them to a minimum,” said sophomore right fielder Mark Payton, who went 2-for-2 and reached base in all five of his plate appearances. “We can’t give other teams free outs because they’ll capitalize, especially teams like [UT-Arlington] that came out and hit the ball really well.”

On Sunday, Texas suffered from a string of defensive mishaps in its 5-3 loss to Duke. Pitcher Kirby Bellow fielded a sacrifice bunt and fired it to third base despite the runner arriving well before the throw. Then, shortstop Christian Summers made a poor throw home and Lusson made a throwing error trying to gun a Blue Devils baserunner at third as Duke lengthened its lead to 5-2 an inning after Lusson hit a two-run home run.

“I think we played much poorer tonight than we did on Sunday,” Garrido said. “What is surprising to me is that we spent a lot of time knowing that there was a possibility of not being focused for this.”

Senior Austin Dicharry, who made his first start of the season, and freshman Peters each gave up multiple unearned runs. Dicharry struck out the side in the second inning while freshman John Curtiss repeated the feat in the sixth inning and Peters faced the minimum number of batters in the fifth inning after inducing a double play. But the innings in between those frames is what caused the Longhorns to lose.

Texas also fell in its first weekday game last season, dropping a 8-7 decision to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi following its season-opening series against Maryland but went on to triumph in the remainder of their mid-week games. Now the Longhorns set their sights on a three-game series in Palo Alto, Calif. against No. 2 Stanford, who swept No. 17 Vanderbilt in its first series of the year.

Freshman outfielder Collin Shaw made a sensational leaping grab during Sunday’s loss to Duke, which checked in at No. 8 in SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays of this past weekend. But that catch was nowhere near to representative of how the Longhorns have played defense in their last two games, particularly in Tuesday’s loss to UT-Arlington.