When things aren’t going right, just focus on your fashion.
That’s what the Longhorns did Sunday in an attempt to relieve themselves of the hitting slump suffered in a loss the day before to Texas Tech. The offensive players rolled up their pant legs to show half of their socks and used a newfound energy to come back and beat Tech by two runs.
“We went with mid socks today to loosen up the players and the offense,” said Texas first baseman Tant Shepherd. “The scoreboard didn’t show we were loose, but we were.”
The decision to change socks was brought on by a team meeting held before the game. Texas head coach Augie Garrido met with team leaders to try and find a way for them to communicate better with each other and make the game more fun.
“The meeting was about getting the players to feel good about playing. This game can get you down,” Garrido said. “Yesterday was a tough day and was very tough on the players’ emotions.”
Texas got only three hits in a 2-1 loss on Saturday, and it looked to be more of the same heading into the eighth inning on Sunday. The Red Raiders had a 1-0 lead, and Texas went down in order in three consecutive innings.
“Yesterday was tough on us, and the first seven innings were tough on us today,” said shortstop Brandon Loy. “When you’re putting doughnuts on the board, it’s not fun. You’ve got to find a way to make it fun, and that’s what we did.”
Loy tied the game in the eighth inning with an RBI single hit into right field that scored Paul Montalbano from second base. Loy was up to bat Saturday with bases loaded and two outs but grounded out to shortstop to end the game.
“I take that stuff personally,” he said. “As a leader on this ball club, people look up to me, and that’s something I’ve got to do.”
Shepherd hit a first-pitch curveball down the left-field line for a triple two batters later that scored two runs and put Texas up for good.
“We’ve got to find a way to string hits together, and that’s what we did in the eighth,” Loy said. “One hit an inning is not going to do it. We’ve got to capitalize on scoring chances for momentum.”
Loy and Shepherd were two of the five leaders present at the pregame meeting and said that it was effective hearing criticism from teammates and not just coaches.
“When the message comes from one of your teammates, it means more,” Shepherd said.
Loy said the Longhorns need to figure out how to relax during pressure situations and realize that they’re playing baseball to have fun.
“It wasn’t fun all day, I promise you that,” Loy said. “We’d obviously like it to be a little easier, but we’ll take the win.”