Texas’s regional hosting bid takes hit as Horns fall in Big 12 Tournament

Travis Hlavinka

Momentum can differ from game to game, but the emotional rollercoaster Texas is enduring is at an unusually high level.

With a virtually guaranteed opportunity to host a regional, the Longhorns only needed to win one Big 12 tournament game to ensure that hosting would come to fruition.

Texas was essentially eliminated from the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship tournament before it even started. The No. 1-seeded Longhorns lost their first game to No. 8-seeded Kansas before dropping their second game of the tournament to rival Oklahoma 3-1 and were sent home without recording a tournament win.

The Longhorns came into the tournament fresh off of a Big 12 regular season conference title last Saturday. The team, which at that point was as hot as any in the nation, swept TCU in an outstanding effort that was aided by three Oklahoma State loses, and eventually brought home its first regular season conference championship since 2011.

Riding high, the team has since fallen on harder times. In an opening tournament game on Wednesday versus the Kansas Jayhawks, Texas failed to rally its bats and fell to the Jayhawks 3-2. The Longhorns met their match at the plate against Kansas starting pitcher, Jackson Goddard, who went for 6.2 innings and only allowed one run on two hits.

Texas would only record two runs on four total hits, one from sophomore third baseman Ryan Reynolds and the other from junior catcher DJ Petrinsky. The team scored its second run in a bottom-of-the-ninth rally but was unable to plate another to tie the game.

Thursday’s game was the same story on a different day. In an early 9 a.m. game, Texas faced off against the arch-rival Oklahoma Sooners and seemed to sleepwalk through the morning, at least offensively.

The team failed to get its bats going yet again as they only recorded seven hits on the day and mustered a measly one run.

Junior starting pitcher Nolan Kingham was serviceable, but not dominant as he allowed three earned runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings of work.

Over the course of the 18 innings, Texas only scored three runs on 11 hits.

Because the Big 12 conference title holds so much clout, Texas, in the grand scheme of things, should still be fine in its quest to host a regional. However, the Longhorns currently sit at No. 22 in the nation in RPI, which is not ideal, to say the least.

At this point, though, the team is forced to play the waiting game. Barring anything unforeseen, though, Austin should still be a destination for a regional tournament.

Texas will discover its fate when the NCAA Regional locations are announced Sunday night before the entire bracket is revealed on Monday.