Stuck in a rut and playing the same game repeatedly, thatâ€™s what coaches, teams and fans felt after watching Texas lose on Sunday to Texas Tech, 5-1. On the loss, Tres Barrera said, â€œI guess it has been reoccurring a lot and that's exactly what it is feeling like. It is over and over.â€
The Longhorns committed two errors, hit three batters, stranded 13 baserunners and tossed a wild pitch. It was ugly baseball, and with an Big 12 record of 9-12, Sundayâ€™s game truly did feel like par for the course of the season.
After the game, Connor Mayes summed it up, â€œWe're all putting our heart as much as we can into it. It really hurts. We're trying our best and we all know that. It just hasn't gone our way.â€
After steadily stranding a total of six baserunners in the first four innings, the Red Raiders broke open their one-run lead by plating three scores in the top of the fifth frame. After an RBI single from Eric Gutierrez, the big blow came off the bat of Bryant Burleson â€“ a two-run homerun blasted over the left field fence.
Following Burlesonâ€™s round-tripper, Techâ€™s lead stood at 4-0 and based on recent Texas performances, the margin seemed insurmountable. For good measure, Cory Raley tacked on an insurance run in the top of the sixth inning to finish the Red Raiderâ€™s scoring.
After stranding nine runners in the first seven innings, including a bases loaded opportunity in the home half of sixth frame, Texas broke their scoring drought in the eighth on a bases loaded walk. Following the walk, Ben Johnson was called out on strikes with the bases loaded and was ejected for arguing with the umpire.
With only one Big 12 series and four total games left to play before the Big 12 tournament in Tulsa, whether Texas has anything left to play for is debatable. Barrera disagreed, â€œThere is still a chance; we're not giving up, we're going to keep fighting 'til the very end.â€
Opening statement: â€œBasically we didn't manage our strike zone well on offense. We continue not to take quality at bats, especially with runners in scoring position. When we have opportunities to score runs, we fail offensively to take our walks when they are available and to sustain the rally to the extent that we need to score runs. We do it over and over again. This is what happens when you lose focus of quality at-bats, which is an extension of an offensive approach that includes all four of the major games in baseball â€“ bunting, base running, hitting, and bat control. When pitchers walk hitters or the rallies get sustained, they then get wild and start to feel pressure. We don't apply enough pressure long enough offensively to score the runs that creates that kind of pressure on the defense and the pitcher.â€
On the seasonâ€™s collapse: â€œI know what happened. I know what's happened, I'm not confused. I know how to fix it. But it has to start like it did last year in the fall. We really assumed and thought we had the leadership on this team as a result of how close they were and how many guys were coming back from last year. That's what led us to believe that we had the leadership in place and the spirit that it takes. We didn't work them as hard on attitude as we did with last year's team. It's all about attitude. â€œ
On the team is unable to score runs: â€œBy moving from total offense and quality at-bats mentally to fixing their swing and trying to regain their confidence by getting hits. We became one dimensional, we only had one goal. Anyone that's been around baseball for a long time or even a short period of time knows the biggest demon of all of the ones around is batting average. Ask any baseball expert.â€
On todayâ€™s start: â€œCame out pretty strong I felt like. They just got some timely hits on us and ended up scoring three and getting some more. They got lucky today I felt like. Hopefully our luck will change pretty soon.â€
On the offenseâ€™s struggles: â€œI know they are trying their best. They've been working really hard at it and that's all I can ask as a teammate of theirs and that's what they are doing every day when they come to practice and to the field. They are staying within the process that Coach talks about. That's all we can do. We may be unlucky but we have to stay with it.â€
On the mindset in the locker room: â€œIt really hurts. We're all putting our heart as much as we can into it. It really hurts. We're trying our best and we all know that. It just hasn't gone our way. All we can do is to look to tomorrow and try our best.â€
On Sundayâ€™s loss: â€œIt's hard to put into words. It's happened a lot this year, we just haven't capitalized when we needed to. We got what, eight hits on the board, and one run? That can't happen and win ball games. We haven't been able to put timely at-bats or timely hitting [together] when we have had runners in scoring position. That's just the way it's been.â€
On if it feels like the pattern of losing is repeating itself: â€œWe go in with the mindset that every game is opening day. But, I guess it has been reoccurring a lot and that's exactly what it is feeling like. It is over and over. We just have to snap out of it, and we have been trying to do that for a while now.â€
If there is an explanation for not getting timely hits: â€œThere are a lot of excuses right now. When you're losing, everybody is trying to magnify [something] or make an excuse why we are losing, but bottom line some of us just have to get the job done, and we haven't been doing that. We've been just trying too hard; that's what losing causes, especially at The University of Texas. You want to win so bad, when you see runners out there you just try harder and that doesn't work very well in baseball.â€
On how to break the mindset of losing: â€œWe gotta comeback Tuesday ready to play. Like I said, come back with an opening day mindset and just fight it. We have a bunch of fighters in this locker room. We have everybody back from last year's team and we know what it takes to be in the College World Series. We just haven't been able to put it together. There is still a chance; we're not giving up, we're going to keep fighting 'til the very end.â€