Heaven and hell. Left and right. Hot and cold. Game one and game two.
They all share a common trait of being polar opposites from their counterpart, and it was exactly the case in Texas’ doubleheader Saturday afternoon against the Purdue Boilermakers as the Longhorns split the two games with a 13-6 victory and a 4-0 defeat.
Despite starter Blair Henley surrendering three runs in the top of the first inning during the first matchup, the Longhorn offense instantly came to life with seven runs of their own in the second inning. The scoring onslaught was highlighted by a pair of two-run home runs, one by shortstop Bryce Reagan and the other by left fielder Eric Kennedy.
Two innings later, infielder Sam Bertelson collected his first career hit with a double off the base of the right-field wall to score designated hitter DJ Petrinsky and right fielder Austin Todd. A long ball from Todd in the sixth inning added two more runs for the Longhorns to bust things open.
By the end of the first game, the Longhorns had racked up a season-high 13 runs on 11 hits and six walks, while leaving just four players on base.
With the 13-run outburst in hand, Texas scored 31 runs in its previous three games and won all three rather easily, which makes it all the more surprising to see the light turned off for the Texas offense in the second half of the doubleheader.
A Masen Hibbeler infield single was the only hit Texas recorded in game two. Though they did walk six times, the Longhorns left six runners on base and could not capitalize with runners in scoring position.
Purdue was able to score four runs in the ninth inning as a result of two Texas errors in the field, and locked down the bottom half of the inning to win its first game of the season.
While the sudden decrease in offensive production may come as a concern, Texas head coach David Pierce doesn’t totally buy in, especially with the loss coming in the second game of a double header.
“In all of my years of coaching, it’s very difficult to sweep a doubleheader when you are playing quality division one schools,” Pierce said. “One team seems to drop its guard, and the other team does not want to be swept, and that caught up to us today.”
With the disappointing loss comes lessons the Longhorns can take away and learn from while the season is still young.
“I think more than anything is to not be fearful of failure and not to be nervous about doing your job,” Pierce said. “I would like to see guys realize that the game is very humbling and as good as it was in game one, it can flip the switch on you just like it did tonight.”
With the loss, the Longhorns are now 5–2 on the season but have the opportunity to end the weekend on a positive note with the final game of the four-game series taking place Sunday at 12:30 p.m.