STANFORD, Calif. -- With a couple of potential rallies in the waning innings being thwarted, the Longhorns could not overcome a career-high, four-RBI day from Cardinal right fielder Michael Taylor as No. 7 Texas lost a 5-1 decision to No. 11 Stanford in front of a crowd of 2,473 fans at Sunken Diamond on Sunday, Feb. 19.
With the loss, the Longhorns (5-5) had their four-game series win streak snapped, while the Cardinal improved to 5-3 on the young season.
Following a scoreless opening frame for both sides, Stanford put together a threat in the bottom of the second with back-to-back, one-out singles from Jason Castro and John Hester. Designated hitter Sean Ratliff then grounded a ball toward the hole on the left side that Chais Fuller (Fairfield, Calif.) grabbed on his backhand and flipped to Clay Van Hook (Brenham, Texas) to turn an inning-ending double play. The Cardinal then managed to load the bases with two down in the bottom of the third on an infield single and two walks before Taylor came up with a bases-clearing double to stake Stanford to a 3-0 lead. Looking to answer in the top of the fourth, the Horns put two runners on with two down, but Stanford starter Matt Manship, who had set down nine in a row until Drew Stubbs' (Atlanta, Texas) infield hit in the fourth, struck out his next batter to retire the side and keep the three-run lead in tact.
In the fifth, UT received a two-out base hit from Fuller with runners on the corners to make it a 3-1 ballgame. The Horns then had Stubbs draw a walk to load the bases in the frame, but Stanford reliever Nolan Gallagher induced his second batter of the inning to ground into a fielder's choice and end the rally. Now up by two, the Cardinal offense went back to work in the bottom of the fifth and received a RBI-triple off the bat of Chris Minaker followed by a sacrifice fly from Taylor to break on top by a score of 5-1. Texas would put together threats in both the seventh and eighth innings by placing two runners on with one out in each frame, but Gallagher in the seventh and Jeremy Bleich in the eighth worked out of the jams with two brilliant double plays turned by the infield tandem of Minaker and Chris Lewis. Longhorns' reliever Austin Wood (Kingwood, Texas), meanwhile, came out of the bullpen to limit the Cardinal attack to one hit over the final 3.1 innings while striking out a pair, but Texas' offense was unable to pull off the comeback as Bleich worked a perfect ninth to cap the win and earn his third save of the season. While Gallagher pitched 2.2 innings of no-hit relief to pick up the victory for Stanford, UT starter Kyle McCulloch (Houston, Texas), who fanned two over 4.2 innings of work, incurred the loss.
Headlining the afternoon for Texas was Fuller, who went 2-for-3 with UT's lone RBI, Stubbs, who extended his current hit streak to four games with an infield hit in the fourth, and Wood, who ended his relief stint by retiring seven in a row. On the other side of the ledger, Stanford's eight-hit attack was paced by Taylor, who drove in a career-best four runs during a 1-for-3 outing, Minaker, who went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and one RBI, and the tandem of Castro and John Hester, who each tallied a pair of hits. Of additional note for Texas, Fuller, with his two hits on the day, has now reached base safely in nine of the Longhorns' 10 games to date.
These two teams wrap up this three-game series at Sunken Diamond on Monday, Feb. 20 at 3 p.m. Central.