Disastrous ninth inning sends Texas to 12th-straight Big 12 series loss

Evan Berkowitz

Ninth-inning troubles plagued the Longhorns this weekend at its conference opener, as it fell to Kansas 6-1 in the deciding match Sunday and lost the series 2-1.

Texas has now lost 12 straight conference series dating back to April 2012.

It looked as though senior outfielder Mark Payton saved the day for the Longhorns, but  then everything turned sour.

For the third time in the Big 12 season opener against Kansas, the Texas offense struggled to push runs across the plate. It scored just two runs in each of the first two games, splitting the pair before Kansas senior pitcher Frank Duncan shut down the Longhorns on Sunday, allowing no runs on just four hits in his seven innings.

Texas battled back Sunday in the eighth when sophomore outfielder Ben Johnson lined a two-out single to right, setting the stage for Payton.

Payton lined an inside pitch off the left field wall, and Johnson just beat the throw home to tie the game. But Kansas regained the lead on a leadoff double as four Longhorn pitchers allowed five runs in the ninth. Freshman pitcher Morgan Cooper took the loss.

“The ninth inning was a disaster all the way around,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “We have to bounce back.”

Texas began the series  Friday with a 3-2 loss behind junior pitcher Parker French (2-2). French allowed three earned runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings, and Texas managed just six hits against Kansas sophomore leftie Wes Benjamin (3-0). Sophomore shortstop C.J. Hinojosa and freshman catcher Tres Barerra, who debuted at first base, brought in RBIs.

The Longhorns tied the series with a 2-1 win Saturday, jumping out early with two unearned runs. Junior pitcher Dillon Peters (2-1) allowed just one run in 7.1 innings.