Longhorns fall to BYU 5-4, fail to complete series sweep on final day

Vicente Montalvo

On the final day of a four-game series, the Longhorns fell to the Cougars, losing a four-run lead before falling 5-4 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. 

Texas looked like it was going to follow the script of the previous three days: take care of BYU through stellar pitching and quality at-bats. But that was not the case Saturday, as the Longhorns struggled to contain the Cougars for all nine innings. 

“I felt like we probably got out of what was successful last night,” head coach David Pierce said. “We just got to continue to figure out and sort out the bullpen.”

Redshirt junior pitcher Tristan Stevens got his second start of the season for the Longhorns, pitching almost six innings while striking out four batters and allowing six hits on the day. Similar to his first start, Stevens looked in control throughout most of the game until the sixth inning, where he was relieved with the bases loaded. 

“He’s been in those types of situations, but he hasn’t started and extended past that,” Pierce said. “I don’t think it is a concern yet. I truly don’t.”

The Longhorns got off to a fast start in the first inning when redshirt freshman outfielder Douglas Hodo III hit a single run home run, giving Texas a 1-0 lead.

The fourth inning saw a scary moment when a wild pitch from sophomore BYU pitcher Jack Sterner hit redshirt junior infielder Zach Zubia in the helmet. Zubia stayed in the game and was brought home following a single hit from redshirt freshman catcher Silas Ardoin, giving the Longhorns a 2-0 lead. 

In the fifth inning, redshirt junior infielder Cam Williams took advantage of the lack of control from BYU sophomore pitcher Carter Smith as he launched a two-run home run deep to center field, his second of the series, stretching Texas’s lead to four.

Texas looked like they would easily cruise to victory, but a slew of pitching mistakes from four Longhorn pitchers in the sixth inning allowed the Cougars to take a 5-4 lead. 

“(It) unraveled on us there with a couple of pitchers,” Pierce said. “We’ll keep working at picking the right guys.”

After the sixth inning, freshman pitcher Tanner Witt stemmed the bleeding. He pitched over three innings as he finished the game striking out five of the 10 batters he faced.

In the ninth inning, Ardoin began with a double, giving the Longhorns a chance. The game came down to the last batter with two outs. Graduate senior Mike Antico had a chance to tie or win the game, but he grounded out, giving the Cougars a 5-4 victory.

After losing the opening series in Arlington, the Longhorns have a lot to build on and are starting to trend in the right direction, Witt said. Texas was 3-1 in the series against BYU and moved to 3-4 on the season.

“We came out of the gates not very strong, and we came back this series and started off very hot,” Witt said. “We’ve got a lot of trust in our team, and we’re going to continue to trust them throughout the season.”