STILLWATER, Oklahoma — The Texas baseball team left Stillwater, Okla., with its 10th consecutive series win, even after Sunday's 7-3 loss to the Cowboys at O'Brate Stadium that ended UT's 16-game winning streak.
The two victories in three games at OSU moves Texas to 33-9 on the year, and 12-3 in Big 12 action. After TCU fell Sunday to Kansas, the Horns and Horned Frogs are tied atop the conference standings for the second straight week. Oklahoma State dropped to 23-12-1, and is now 6-8 in Big 12 play.
Friday's season opener was rained out, creating a doubleheader before Sunday's series finale. The Longhorns handled it with a "professional mentality" according to head coach David Pierce, sweeping the doubleheader by scores of 4-3 and 5-2 respectively.
Pitching was critical in UT's back-to-back triumphs. Ty Madden threw six innings in the first game. For the first five, Oklahoma State struggled to even put the bat on the ball, mustering only one hit. The Cowboys sent Madden to the showers with a three-run sixth, but the right-hander tallied the win, moving to 6-1 on the year. He had a strikeout in all six innings, extending his streak to 11 straight frames.
Leadoff hitter Mike Antico walked to start the first inning, and advanced to third on a double by second baseman Mitchell Daly and crossed the plate on a passed ball to give the Longhorns an early 1-0 advantage. Five pitches later, Daly scored on an RBI groundout from first baseman Zach Zubia.
Zubia came up big for Texas two innings later, adding two insurance runs on a home run over the right field wall to give the Horns a commanding 4-0 advantage.
Tristan Stevens looked equally strong on the hill for Texas in the second game, facing Oklahoma State's Justin Campbell, who entered the contest with an unblemished 4-0 record. That changed nine innings later, as it was Stevens, not Campbell, who earned the win to improve to 7-1. Stevens did not have an eye-popping stat line — in seven innings, he allowed five hits, three walks and two earned runs while striking out seven \ but managed to get the job done while the offense went to work.
Texas hit three home runs in the victory, the first of which came off the bat of right fielder Douglas Hodo III in the fourth, scoring Zubia, and putting Texas in front, 2-1. But it was not the first play Hodo made that changed the course of the contest.
In the third, Oklahoma State shortstop Hueston Morrill knocked a slow roller to the left side of the infield with runners on the corners and two outs. Longhorn third baseman Murphy Stehly, trying to keep Oklahoma State off the board, fielded the awkward grounder but fired it well past Zubia's glove at first base, and into right field. One run easily scored, and OSU right fielder Cade Cabbiness attempted to add a second run on the play, sprinting from first. Hodo put an end to that, gunning him out on a spectacular throw from right field to home plate.
Antico and designated hitter Ivan Melendez followed with home runs of their own in the fifth and sixth innings, and Tanner Witt closed out the game on the mound with two innings of scoreless, hitless work to pick up his third save of the season.
With the series victory secured, Texas, which had yet to lose a game in April, turned its sights to Sunday's series finale, and the possible sweep. But Oklahoma State had a different idea, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first as Texas struggled to dig itself out of a hole for the rest of the game. The Cowboys won by a score of 7-3.
Texas got off to a rough start, as starter Kolby Kubichek was chased after a single inning of work, dropping his season record to 5-3. Oklahoma State third baseman Christian Encarnacion-Strand, who entered the series batting .403, but came into the game with a single hit in eight at-bats in the series, turned on a pitch and sent it over the wall in left field, putting the Cowboys up 2-0 with one out in the first. A base hit scored another, and things did not change much in second, as first baseman Jake Thompson launched a two-run homer off Texas reliever Pete Hansen to give Oklahoma State a 5-0 lead.
"Yeah, with the wind blowing out, they ran in a couple of balls, (and) Kolby wasn't as sharp as we needed him to be," Pierce said. "We need to make sure that we're not giving up free passes."
Kubichek, Hansen and reliever Cole Quintanilla all struggled with leaving the ball high in the zone, and the Cowboys took advantage.
Quintanilla gave up Oklahoma State's third home run of the contest in the fifth, when Morrill sent a two-run shot to deep left field.
Texas scored one run in the sixth and seventh innings, but failed to overcome the early deficit.
The Longhorns will face Incarnate Word at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in a game that can be seen on Longhorn Network.