Needing to salvage a win in the series in order to struggle back to .500 in Big 12 play, the Texas baseball team faltered again on Sunday, displaying the same lapses that sunk them on Saturday. In the series finale TCU beat Texas 7-1, and the Horns committed two errors and played from behind the entire game.
Starting pitcher Chad Hollingsworth hit two of the first three batters he faced to open the game. Evan Skoug then delivered a 2 RBI double to right field, making it 2-0, and reinforcing Saturday's losses.
At that early point it was apparent that Hollingsworth was struggling with the soreness that has plagued him throughout the spring. TCU took advantage of Hollingsworthâ€™s discomfort and struck for a third run on a sacrifice fly by right fielder Nolan Brown.
After making two errors in each of the first two games of the series, the Texas defense failed to deliver on Sunday. A rare throwing error by Brooks Marlow in the bottom of the eighth frame led to an unearned run for the Horned Frogs. Two innings earlier, the Horned Frogs got a solo homerun from Elliot Barzilli, paired with a sacrifice fly that scored a run to extend their lead to 5-1.
The Longhorns' lone run came off the bat of Tres Barrera, who homered to left-centerfield in the top of the fourth inning. Although the team managed eight hits and three walks, the lineup failed to produce with runners in scoring position. Texas stranded 8 baserunners on Sunday, giving them a total of 31 in the series.
The lone bright spot of the game was freshman Connor Mayes, who entered in relief of Hollingsworth. From the second through fifth frames, Mayes dominated the TCU lineup, only allowing one hit.
After being swept by TCU, Texas is 22-22 overall and 8-10 in conference play. With only 2 Big 12 series (vs Texas Tech; at Baylor), and 8 total games remaining, Texas is in danger of missing postseason play for the third time in four seasons.
On Sundayâ€™s game: â€œIn the fourth, fifth and sixth innings we had runners on first and second and that's where our opportunities to score runs were. We hit into double plays twice, once when we were stealing third and the shortstop caught a line drive, the other time we didn't get our bunt down and then we hit a ground ball that led to a double play. So the difference in the teams â€“ they had seven hits, we had eight â€“ there were six runs difference because the quality at-bats they took to get runners in scoring position and to score the runners. That was the big separation all weekend long, was the quality at-bats they took with runners in scoring position and the number of runs they scored with productive outs. I've talked about that a lot and we don't do that.â€
On Connor Mayes: â€œHe was outstanding. He was really good. He came in, grabbed the ball and threw it to the mitt with no fear. That's the way he pitched in high school and that's what made him one of the top pitchers in the entire state. So that was a real blessing to see him come through like that.â€
On moving Mayes to the starting rotation: â€œI would think so. I feel bad for Chad; he had a tough go of it. He didn't have any secondary pitches. His fastball was ok, but when you're facing this many left-handed hitters and you're right-handed it would be very difficult to beat them with one pitch, even if you could locate it. So I felt really bad for him, but I would definitely see Connor Mayes in the starting rotation.â€