In a very different looking ball game from Thursday night, Texas struggled to get anything going offensively or on the mound against No. 7 Stanford on Friday. Once Stanford took the lead in the first inning, it never looked back and finished off a 7-1 drubbing of the No. 23 Longhorns at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
Texas (9–5) struggled all night to put the bat on the ball, recording only six hits. Compared to the Longhorns, the Cardinal put on a show with 13 hits.
Redshirt freshman Zach Zubia said afterward that the focus is all on Saturday’s game now.
“We’ve got to come back tomorrow, grind out at-bats tomorrow and hopefully come out with a W tomorrow,” Zubia said. “You never want to be satisfied with a loss. As a team, we’re going to come out tomorrow hopefully clear-minded. I have full faith in this team that we’ll get over this.”
After the loss, Texas head coach David Pierce didn’t look shocked. He didn’t gasp for air. Frankly, he didn’t even seem too surprised.
With a guy like Stanford’s Kris Bubic on the mound, all Pierce could do was just shake his head and give Bubic credit.
Bubic’s stats coming into Friday night’s game included a 2–0 record, a 1.56 ERA and an opponent batting average of .180. The lefty’s Friday night was virtually flawless, as Bubic went for six whole innings, allowed three hits and let up only one run.
“Just a tough one,” Pierce said. “I thought Bubic was as advertised. He was very good tonight. We had minimum opportunities. We knew that we weren’t going to have a ton of them. So when we get those chances, we have to come up with a clutch hit.”
Pierce, who acknowledged that the Longhorns realistically only had two chances to score over the course of the game, mostly chalked up the loss to the impressive performance by the red-hot Bubic. But Pierce also gave some of the blame to his starting pitcher, junior Nolan Kingham.
Kingham, who moved to 2–2, has struggled in his last three outings. After lighting up the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns in the season opener, Kingham has since been very pedestrian. In each of his last two starts — LSU and Northwestern — the Longhorns have ended up with another tally in the loss column.
Friday night’s performance was all too familiar for Kingham. He left the game after six innings, having allowed 10 hits and five earned runs while only managing to strike out three. Pierce has seen the struggles and said he knows which areas Kingham needs to improve in.
“(Kingham) left the ball up,” Pierce said. “And with his best two pitches, he’s got to get the ball down. He’s got to get committed this week to really getting into his legs a little more, getting out to his front side. It’s a good test for him. He hasn’t been as sharp as his opening night. We’ve got to get him right.”
The season is still young, so all hope for Kingham to return to his ace form is not lost — at least not yet.
Texas and Stanford return to Disch-Falk Field on Saturday for the third game of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.