Oregon State proves to be too much for Texas in opening game of Dallas Regional

Jacob Martella

DALLAS — For everything Texas had Friday afternoon, the Beavers had the answer every time.

For senior pitcher Parker French, the Beavers fired back with their own ace, Andrew Moore.

When the Longhorns scored a run in the fourth, the Beavers struck for two runs in the bottom of the inning.

And, after Texas had tied the game on a two-run home run in the eighth, Oregon State plated a run in the next half-inning to take a 5–4 win and send Texas to the loser’s bracket in the Dallas Regional.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “That’s been our Friday several times this year.”

The game — which started an hour late as the Dallas Baptist grounds crew tried to get the field into playable condition — started off like the pitcher’s duel everyone expected going into the weekend. French and Moore each entered the game with a sub-2.50 ERA and both had little trouble getting through the first three innings.

Texas was able to strike first in the top of the fourth after freshman designated hitter Joe Baker singled. Then, bunted over to second and scored on sophomore catcher Tres Barrera’s single. But the Longhorns couldn’t add to their lead because sophomore first baseman Kacy Clemens struck out with the bases loaded.

Oregon State, however, would answer right back. Following a hit batter, the Beavers tallied three-straight hits from their fifth, sixth and seventh batters in the lineup, scoring two runs to take the lead.

Oregon State then tacked on a run in both the fifth and sixth innings — both RBI hits coming with two outs in the inning — to up the advantage to 4–1.

“The separation was a result of the two-strike hitting and two-out hitting,” Garrido said.

But the Longhorns kept with it, chipping into the lead in the seventh with junior left fielder Ben Johnson’s sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 4–2.

Texas then got a huge lift when center fielder Zane Gurwitz leaped and robbed Oregon State’s Caleb Hamilton of a home run to lead off the bottom of the inning.

“It definitely turned the game around for us,” senior second baseman Brooks Marlow said. “We felt like everything was going our way.”

The Longhorns immediately capitalized on their new-found momentum. Gurwitz legged out a two-out infield single, and then, Marlow turned on a 3–1 pitch and sent the ball beyond the trees in right field to tie the game at four apiece.

“I was just trying to get things started for this team,” Marlow said.

But, as they had all game, the Beavers formulated an immediate response in the bottom half of the inning.

Leadoff batter Joe Gillette drew a four-pitch walk from senior relief pitcher Kirby Bellow. After a sacrifice bunt moved Gillette to second base, left fielder Kyle Nobach doubled to the right-center field gap to give Oregon State a 5–4 advantage and eventually the win.

“It’s disappointing, but it’s not discouraging,” Garrido said.

In what could be his final start as a Longhorn, French, who fired a complete game in the Big 12 tournament over a week ago, finished the game with four runs given up and four strikeouts in six innings.

“I felt like my stuff was really good today — the best it’s been in a while,” French said. “That’s just baseball, though; they had balls find more holes than we did.”

The loss moves Texas to the loser’s bracket of the Dallas Baptist Regional, and, in an elimination game at 11 a.m. Saturday, the Longhorns will face the loser of the Dallas Baptist-VCU game.

Despite the prospect that one more loss will end the season for the Longhorns, Garrido said they’re not worried about dropping the first game.

“You’ll see two or three teams that lose on the first day win [their regional] before it’s over,” Garrido said. “This might as well be one of them.”