AUSTIN, Texas — Sunday's series finale for the Texas baseball team followed the same pattern as the Longhorns' previous two contests against Oklahoma, with the Sooners taking an early lead. This time, however, the Horns failed to recover, falling 3-2 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
Oklahoma earned its first conference victory as Texas dropped to 4-2 in conference play after winning the first two games of the series. The series against a Big 12 opponent the Longhorns have won this season.
After Saturday's contest, Texas head coach David Pierce praised his team for "not panicking" as Oklahoma took an early 2-0 lead. The Horns showed the same mentality Sunday as the Sooners jumped out to a 2-0 in the top half of the third, using a sacrifice flyout and a wild pitch to plate runs in consecutive at-bats.
The Texas offense generated momentum in the fourth, and sliced into Oklahoma's lead on a single from second baseman Mitchell Daly that scored left fielder Eric Kennedy. Catcher Silas Ardoin attempted to score from second on the play and tie the score, but was thrown out at home plate on a spectacular toss from Sooners right fielder Jace Bohrofen. The two-out RBI single was the contest's only scoring play through the first seven innings, as pitching took center stage.
Texas starter Kolby Kubichek fired 6-2/3 innings and allowed just three hits and four walks. Kubichek had no decision in the game, though he completed his outing by striking out three of the final five batters he faced.
Oklahoma starter Brandon Carmichael also had a superb performance, with a seven-inning outing that included just four hits and one run. Carmichael was relieved by Carson Carter, who opened the door up for a Texas comeback in the eighth, and only picked up one out.
Carter faced just three batters to open the frame, hitting shortstop Trey Faltine with a pitch, inducing a Douglas Hodo groundout and then walking Kennedy. Faltine was the one to tie the score, though Carter was no longer on the mound when Faltine crossed the plate. Jason Ruffcorn, who played his high school ball at Austin's Hyde Park High School, entered the game following Kennedy's walk, but struggled after striking out Cam Williams for the inning's second out.
After Ardoin was hit by a pitch, center fielder Mike Antico drove Faltine home from third, loading the bases and tying the score at 2-2.
Oklahoma countered in its last chance in the ninth, however, as Aaron Nixon came on to pitch for Texas. Nixon forced two quick outs to open the frame, but then gave up three straight hits, the third scoring J. Crooks to put Oklahoma back in front, 3-2.
Daly drew a walk to open the bottom of the ninth, but first baseman Zach Zubia grounded into a double play in the following at-bat, and ended the rally. Faltine went down swinging after working the count to 2-2, as Texas lost in a heartbreaker.
Statisically, there were very few offensive standouts for either side, though Antico went 2-for-2 with an RBI and two walks. He and Oklahoma's Tyler Hardman were the only players to reach base in each of their plate appearances.
Ruffcorn picked up the win for Oklahoma while Nixon took the loss and dropped to 1-2 on the year.
The Longhorns face their toughest midweek opponent of the season Tuesday against Texas A&M (17-9, 2-4 in games against Southeastern Conference teams) in College Station. The 6 p.m. game will be carried on ESPNU.