Longhorns take series over New Orleans despite Sunday loss

Shane Lewis

Texas did its best impersonation of a “Three Stooges” bit Sunday afternoon against New Orleans.

In the top of the sixth inning, center fielder Tate Shaw collided with right fielder Duke Ellis in the outfield while pursuing a line drive, sending Ellis flying dramatically through the air and giving the Privateers a stand-up double.

It was that kind of the day for Tate and the Longhorns, as the team made a season high three errors in an ugly 4-1 loss.

“We were very poor defensively and we allowed innings to unravel,” head coach David Pierce said. “(New Orleans) got the timely hits and took advantage when we
made mistakes.”

The collision in the outfield led to a run for the Privateers, one that extended their lead to 4-0.

It was another Longhorn mishap in the outfield that helped New Orleans build a big advantage.  

With two outs in the third, the Privateers sent a routine fly ball to Shaw in center field. But the usually sure-handed junior, who came into his 88th collegiate game with no errors, lost the baseball in the sun and the ball popped out of his glove.

New Orleans capitalized on the Texas error, scoring three runs following the two-out mistake.

Teammates were supportive of Tate, who finished the game with two critical errors in the outfield.

“He’s a gamer and any day of the week I want him out there,” sophomore infielder Ryan Reynolds said. “He’s going to dive into a wall, jump over a wall or do anything for the team. It’s just one of those baseball days.”

Pierce also echoed the sentiment that errors are just part of the game.

“I was a center fielder and I was a defender and every now and then you had those days,” Pierce said. “(Tate’s)  got to just get over it. I just know that he made the mistakes and he’ll own up to it.”

The Longhorns would finish the contest with three errors, their most since Feb. 23 against LSU. All four of the Privateers runs would be unearned.

Despite the loss, Texas came out of the weekend with a series win, going 2-1 in the three game slate.

On Friday night, the Longhorns won in a wild affair. New Orleans jumped on Texas early, building a 4-0 lead by the fifth inning. But the burnt orange staged a comeback, rallying to take a 5-4 lead heading into the seventh inning.

After the Privateers took back a one-run advantage, it was freshman Zach Zubia’s time to play hero. With things knotted in the bottom of the eighth inning, the designated hitter hammered his ninth home run of the season, a shot that lifted Texas to a 8-6 victory.

While Zubia was the story of the series opener, junior pitcher Chase Shugart stole the show on Saturday. Shugart stifled the Privateers to only a run in 7.2 innings, his third straight start allowing a run or less. The Texas bats did just enough, and the team won 3-1.

“I feel like I’m getting a little more comfortable,” Shugart said. “Me and Coach (Phil Haig) have been working in our bullpens on executing the lower half. I’ve had a problem leaving balls up when my lower half isn’t working correctly. So working on my lower half has really helped me out.”

Despite the loss on Sunday, the team will look to build on a series win as it heads in the final stretch of the season. After taking on Houston at home on Tuesday, Texas plays nine of its final 11 games against conference opponents.