Texas Tech only needed one swing of the bat to extend Texas’s losing streak to three games. The No 5. Longhorns dropped a road contest against the Red Raiders 5-2 Wednesday night.
The Longhorns were up 2-0 when the Raiders came up with a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning as the result of starting pitcher Blaire Luna struggles.
For the first time all season, the junior hurler was relieved as the result of a subpar performance rather than a huge lead amassed by the Texas offense. Sophomore Rachel Fox came in the fourth inning and was able to get out of a jam in the fourth, but her effort was not enough.
The Raiders tacked on a couple of insurance runs in the final two innings, but the Texas offense was unable to best the Red Raider defense.
The loss brings the Longhorns to a season record of 32-5 and 6-3 in the Big 12. After winning six straight, the Longhorns have dropped the past three conference games. Despite losing Wednesday’s game in Lubbock, the Longhorns came out with the series win after winning two contests against the Raiders in late March.
The usually crisp pitching staff was sloppy in Wednesday’s loss to the Raiders. Luna started off the night in the circle, but through just over three innings, gave up five hits and three runs while walking three and striking out three batters. Fox came in for the final two innings giving up two runs off one hit.
“We just weren’t able to get into a rhythm with our pitchers today,” said Texas head coach Connie Clark. “Blaire [Luna] and Rachel [Fox] struggled with finding that rhythm ... We gave them a lot of continuous, favorable counts and it was only a matter of time before [Texas Tech] was going to take advantage of it.”
The Texas offense started out well, going up 2-0 off runs scored by senior team captains Nadia Taylor and Lexy Bennett. Both had an RBI. The Longhorns scraped together four hits against the Red Raider pitching staff.
At one point it seemed that the Longhorns were poised for a comeback. In the top of the sixth inning, with one out, the Longhorns managed to the load the bases. However, back to back strikeouts by freshman pinch-hitter Marlee Gabaldon and sophomore shortstop Taylor Thom retired the Longhorns’ last attempt to take the game.
“I thought we had a great workout this morning. I think the competitive spirit and energy was there to start the game,” Clark said. “We did have a couple of opportunities in needing a timely hit at the end. Our focus will be on the final segment of the season, beginning with this weekend. It matters how we will bounce back and I’m actually excited to see how we bounce back.”
Printed on Thursday, April 12, 2012 as: Luna loses control, Horns fall to Raiders