“Just play catch.”
It’s a rather simple phrase that is first introduced to baseball players when they put on a baseball mitt for the first time.
It may be easier said than done but for the select few who find themselves playing division one baseball, it likely comes naturally. However, that has not been the case for Texas, who fell to Stanford on Saturday afternoon 4-2 due to four errors in the field.
“We just can’t give games away,” head coach David Pierce said in his postgame interview with Texas Athletics. “That’s basically what happened today.”
Saturday’s loss marks the fourth time this season the Longhorns have finished a game with at least four errors. Texas first accomplished this feat on Feb. 23 in a 4-0 loss to Purdue, then on Feb. 27 in a 10-7 loss to UTSA and most recently, to LSU on March 3 in a 7-6 win.
Texas knew the loss of shortstop David Hamilton was going to create issues for the overall success of the team’s defense and so far this season, the glove of freshman shortstop Bryce Reagan has not been much of a solution.
Reagan committed a two-out error in the fifth inning that allowed two Stanford base runners to score and erase a 1-0 Texas lead. The error Saturday afternoon was Reagan’s eighth of the season, double that of the next most on the team.
Texas was unable to get back on top of the Cardinal despite tying the game with Zach Zubia’s single in the top of the seventh inning that scored center fielder Duke Ellis.
Having seen their 1-0 series lead quickly flip into a 2-1 deficit, the Longhorns will be attempting to salvage the series and avoid a very disappointing weekend in the series finale Sunday.
“We are fighting for our lives tomorrow against a very good ball club at home,” Pierce said. “We will find out what kind of character we have and see how we bounce back.”
Despite the sloppy performance in the field, the Longhorns received their best performance of the year from junior pitcher Blair Henley.
“I thought Blair (Henley) was outstanding,” Pierce said. “Maybe as good as I have seen him since he has been at Texas for the simple fact that he pitched through so much adversity early in the game.”
Though he was credited with the loss, Henley tossed six innings and allowed zero earned runs while recording a season-high eight strikeouts.
Saturday’s performance on the mound could very well end up being a turning point for Henley. Entering the day, Henley had the lowest ERA of a starting pitcher on the Texas roster at 4.79, and Saturday’s performance was yet another reason as to why he’s a feature pitcher in Texas’ rotation.
Texas will trot out freshman Coy Cobb in game four of the series Sunday at 3:05 p.m. with hopes of concluding the series at an even 2-2 split.