Texas drops series to West Virginia

Travis Hlavinka

In a game No. 19 Texas undoubtedly needed to bolster their ranking and boost their overall outlook moving forward, the Longhorns came up short.
On Sunday afternoon, Texas played its final game in Morgantown, West Virginia, against the Mountaineers and lost by a score of 8-3. As a result, the team dropped the series against West Virginia. After rallying to win Friday night’s game late, the team needed a win Saturday or Sunday to complete the series victory but were unable to do so.
The game began with Texas getting on the board first after redshirt freshman designated hitter Zach Zubia and sophomore shortstop David Hamilton’s at bats resulted in runs.
The lead held until the fourth inning when the Mountaineers put three runs on the board off of sophomore starting pitcher Blair Henley to take the lead from the Longhorns. They would add another in the sixth inning to make it 4-2.
Sophomore outfielder Duke Ellis added an RBI in the top of the seventh to cut the lead to one run. Texas was in position to make a late push at to retake the lead and secure the overall series before returning to Austin.
But in the eighth inning, however, the game got out of hand when West Virginia doubled their score. Texas would go on to use three different pitchers in the inning to try and stop the bleeding, but the score would be 8-3 going into the final inning.
In the top of the ninth, the Longhorns were unable to mount a rally and would go on to lose the game and drop the series.
Sunday’s game was vastly different from Friday and Saturday’s games were as Texas found itself either winning or in contention.
On Friday night, the team was down 6-3 heading into the seventh but stormed to a 9-6 lead at the innings completion. They added two more runs before the game’s completion and won, 11-6.
Saturday night’s game had the same tune but a completely different ending. Down 5-3 in the eighth inning, the Longhorns mounted another comeback and lead 6-5. This time, though, Texas would drop its hard-fought lead and lose the game 8-6.
Coming into the series, head coach David Pierce understood the importance of these three games.
“Every game matters, every game’s important,” Pierce said. “We’re in a conference race, and it’s fun to be in the middle of it.”
Texas currently holds an overall record of 30-17 with a conference record of 12-6. Oklahoma State currently leads the conference, with the Longhorns one game behind.
The reason this particular series loss hurts Texas, outside of adding more losses to its resume, was the fact that West Virginia held the 35th-best RPI in the country. RPI, or Rating Percentage Index, is a quantity that combines wins and losses with strength of schedule. A team’s RPI may be more important in college baseball than any other sport in the country, and it can be the difference in making or hosting a regional and staying home.
The Longhorns, who currently hold the country’s 32nd-best RPI in the country, could’ve used this series win to their advantage with hopes of hosting a regional tournament in Austin.
The team will look to shake off this last weekend’s woes with a series against No. 4 Texas Tech in Lubbock this upcoming weekend.
Before that, however, the team will take on Texas State at home on Tuesday. The game against the Bobcats is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.