AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Longhorns head baseball coach David Pierce said poor communication led to a squandered opportunity to sweep the Indiana Hoosiers on Sunday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
The Longhorns were thrown out at second base four times by Indiana catcher Peter Serruto and missed numerous signals stored on their armbands, and Pierce didn’t sugarcoat anything after the 4-2 loss.
“That was the most embarrassing loss I’ve had in 35 years of coaching, simply because we didn’t execute our communication,” he said. “We have to get better at understanding the game and the situation.”
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The Hoosiers scored all four of their runs in the sixth inning, spoiling what was a great outing by starting pitcher Travis Sthele. The sophomore was coming off a rough outing last week against Vanderbilt, but went 5.2 innings with six strikeouts and five hits. He left the game with a 2-1 lead with two runners on, but the bullpen couldn’t hold it. Sthele was charged with three of the four runs in the inning and was saddled with the loss on the mound.
“I thought Travis pitched good enough to win,” Pierce said. “He’s throwing the ball really well.”
Sthele’s fastball reached 94 mph, and coupled with a changeup about 20 mph slower, he made it tough on Indiana hitters for the better part of his outing.
Porter Brown hit his third home run of the season for the Longhorns in the first inning. After Indiana starting pitcher Luke Sinnard struck out the first two Texas hitters, Brown squared up a fastball and drove it over the left-center field wall for a solo home run. Texas added another run in the third inning on a Dylan Campbell groundout that plated Mitchell Daly, but that was all the offense they could muster having questionable baserunning decisions ran them out of later innings.
“It wasn’t a thing of their guy was better than our guy, it was just a poorly played game on our end,” Pierce said. “We were down by two and we just didn’t understand what should happen. We had a dirt ball read that didn’t matter at that point and we missed a hit and run. We want to be active, but we need to be confident we can do that.”
Pierce said he thinks his guys can sharpen their acumen, but it’s going to take some time and effort to work things out, and one thing they don’t have is time before the country’s top-ranked team comes into Austin on Tuesday.
Texas (3-4) takes on Louisiana State on Tuesday on the back end of a 4-game Central Texas road trip. LSU has been at Dell Diamond in Round Rock playing in the Round Rock Classic all weekend and takes on the Sam Houston Bearkats on Sunday. LSU beat Kansas State in its first game and suffered its first loss of the year to Iowa in the second game.
Texas outfielder Dylan Campbell said he expects the Disch to be full for the game against LSU.
“That’s going to be a good one,” he said. “It’s another opportunity to show people what we’re about and how we can play the game.”
Daly had two hits for the Longhorns and Charlie Hurley pitched the final three innings with six strikeouts to keep Texas in the game.
Texas won the first two games of the series 4-2 and 5-2. They’ll take on LSU at 6:30 p.m.