Augie Garrido offered no excuses, nor did he criticize his team following a 1-0 loss Friday night to Texas Tech, the Big 12 Conference opener for both teams.
Instead, Garrido seemed a bit deflated, moments after his Longhorns failed to complete what appeared to be a promising, ninth-inning rally.
“I talk about baseball being a cruel game,” Garrido said. “People think I’m kidding, but there you go. … When you do your best, which I think our team did, it breaks your heart to lose like this.”
Texas dropped to 11-6, while the Red Raiders, who haven’t won a series in Austin since 2001, upped their record to 13-7. The teams will play again Saturday and Sunday.
It also was the second time UT has been shut out this season. The Longhorns lost 2-0 at Stanford, March 1. Their last 1-0 loss came last May, a defeat at the hands of Loyola Marymount.
As to be expected in a 1-0 game, the pitchers for each team were overwhelming. Tech’s Dominic Moreno, a sophomore transfer from Howard, was the winner.
Moreno’s performance was brilliant. He pitched seven innings, allowing four hits. He didn’t walk a batter, although he hit two, to garner his second victory of the year. Garrido said Moreno, who had an earned run average of 4.79 coming into the game, threw a sinking fastball that baffled his left-handed hitters, Mark Payton and Erich Weiss, who have the team’s best batting averages.
Meanwhile, the Longhorns’ Parker French retired the first 11 batters he faced. But he only pitched six innings after a muscle in his right forearm tightened in the fifth inning. He resorted to throwing side-armed on certain pitches, which alarmed the Texas coaching staff.
French trotted out to the mound to start the seventh, but Garrido and pitching coach Skip Johnson pulled him after seeing his warmup throws. The six innings represented French’s shortest outing of the season.
“I got (the tightness) massaged out,” French said. “I’ll be back next week.”
With French in the dugout, the Tech hitters got a brief respite. Longhorn reliever Ty Marlow immediately struck out cleanup hitter Eric Gutierrez. But catcher Jarrard Poteete knocked Marlow’s first pitch to right center field for a solo homerun. Marlow was tagged with the loss in his 11th appearance of the season, which is tops in the conference.
Josh Urban, the fourth UT pitcher used in the game, then struck out five of the six batters he faced.
Texas didn’t send a runner past second base until the ninth inning.
Payton led off the inning with a single. C.J Hinojosa bunted, but pitcher Jerad McCrummen missed the tag, while putting Payton in scoring position. Alex Silver, pinch-hitting for Ben Johnson, then bunted both runners to second and third.
But catcher Jacob Felts struck out swinging. Pinch hitter Matt Moynihan, with a 3-1 count, grounded out to second base to end the game.
“This was a tough loss,” Garrido said. “But hats off to their pitchers. Their teammates also played a high level of defense behind them.”
TEXAS VS. TEXAS TECH
2 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday, LHN