Coming off a weekend series in Houston and their first real challenge, the Longhorns faced a real challenge at home Tuesday night against Arizona. After the Wildcats jumped out all over sophomore starting pitcher Owen Meaney, Texas just couldn’t recover, as Arizona would go on to win 8-6 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
“I don't know what else to say. (It was) just a bad ball game,” Texas head coach David Pierce said. “It was a really weird line score tonight. I haven’t seen too many outcomes like that.”
Texas opened up its nine-game homestand with an unpredictable 4 1/2 hour game. It seemed the Longhorns were piecing themselves together from the weekend and trying to regroup.
To just his second appearance of the season, Meaney never settled in on the mound. Arizona picked up an RBI single before Meaney loaded the bases, and Texas was forced into an emergency pitching change in the middle of the first inning. Sophomore pitcher Cole Quintanilla finished the inning escaping further damage.
In the second, Arizona picked up a three-run homer off of a hit left field, and just like that, the Longhorns found themselves down by four runs.
Freshman pitcher Jared Southard was sent in for the second pitching change in just three innings. The only action for Texas in the entire first half of the game was from the bullpen. Pitcher after pitcher came into the game and walked the Wildcats hitters.
“We put some guys out there for the first time, to see what they could come up with and if they could get the job done,” Pierce said. “We’re going to find the right mix for sure. We need about 10 to 12 of them, and I know we’ll find them.”
The deficit grew in the fourth, where Arizona added two more to the board off a wild pitch and sacrifice fly before hitting a two run home run to bring the lead to 8-0. Nine Texas pitchers entered the game. Only two lasted longer than an inning on the mound.
“It's hard to pitch once every two weeks, and that's one of the things that we're struggling with, is just getting the right amount of inning for each guy to get in a groove,” Pierce said. “The reason why we're still throwing that many guys is because we haven't had enough guys separate themselves, but it's happening, and it's gonna happen and we'll continue to get better and we'll get it down to the guys we can trust and go from there.”
The Longhorns livened up the marathon game with a seventh-inning rally. Arizona’s lead was cut to 8-6 following four RBIs by sophomore outfielder Eric Kennedy and two by redshirt junior infielder Cam Williams. Yet Texas couldn’t bring in runs in the final two innnings, ending the rally and solidifying the win for Arizona.
On top of the loss, Texas lost senior catcher DJ Petrinsky, who left the game in the eighth.
“It was his shoulder and the length of the ballgame,” Pierce said. “He was going to suck it up, but he knew he couldn't throw the kid out, so it made sense to just switch him. I just think it's still part of his building his strength and improving his arm strength but also dealing with the elements.”