By JASON ELMQUIST
STILLWATER — A pair of aces looked pedestrian Thursday at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
With Oklahoma State’s Jason Hursh and Texas starter Parker French sporting a combined 6-1 record and earned run averages below 1.40, a pitcher’s dual looked to be promising for the series opener with the Longhorns.
Unfortunately, nobody got the memo.
Both lineups rebuffed the two aces, with Texas able to do more damage against Hursh in an 8-5 loss for 18th-ranked OSU.
“It was an interesting game. Usually the first game of a series with two really good arms going you expect it to be tight, but the ballpark was a little more offensive tonight,” Oklahoma State coach Josh Holliday said. “They hit the ball, we hit the ball well at times and we were able to settle down in the middle innings, but they got too big of a lead for us to come back.”
Hursh was responsible for all eight runs, six earned, in seven innings of work — with all of it coming in the first four innings. Hursh, who was giving up an average of 4.5 hits per game coming into the series opener, was roughed up for 13 hits while striking out just four — shy of his average of six Ks per game.
“Out in the bullpen he was leaving the ball up and he wasn’t throwing downhill like he usually does in keeping the ball down and that carried over to the first three or four innings,” Hursh’s battery mate Victor Romero said following the first loss for OSU’s ace. “But it wasn’t anything major. He still made his pitches, we just had some bad breaks at times and they got some dingers here and there. No need to worry about Jason, he’ll bounce back.”
Hursh still lasted longer than the Longhorn ace. French went just three innings and was responsible for four of OSU’s runs on seven hits.
The Cowboys (19-6, 1-2) were slowed by Texas’ middle relievers, with Travis Duke — who replaced French and earned the win — going three innings and giving up just two hits and no walks to slow the OSU lineup.
Much like Tuesday’s midweek loss to Central Arkansas, the problem for the Pokes was the inability to find the holes. The Cowboys wracked up 11 hits in the contest — just two fewer than Texas — and could have made it even more had the Longhorn defense not been able to close the gaps.
“We’re making good swings ... all of us are having great passes at the ball. We’re just getting some tough breaks,” Romero said. “Teams are just making phenomenal plays on us like the two they made up the middle. But there’s nothing for us to worry about. We’re all good. We’re strong as a team. We’ll come back.”
While OSU couldn’t get the key hits, the Longhorns got just enough early against Hursh. Texas (16-9, 2-2) got the biggest hit with a three-run home run by catcher Jeremy Montalbano in the four-run third inning.
“They got the big hit with the three-run homer and give that kid credit, he got a hanging breaking ball and did the right thing with it,” Holliday said. “Then they got a bad hop, two-out single that led to two more runs there that put us further down. But they created their own luck by putting the ball in play and being ready for a pitch that probably wasn’t where we wanted it to be.”
Friday’s first pitch between the conference foes is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
Cowboy notes: Switch-hitting first baseman Tanner Krietemeier, a transfer from Iowa Western Community College by way of the University of Nebraska, extended his hitting streak to 18 straight games, the longest at OSU since 2008. ... The loss dropped Oklahoma State’s record to 18-1 when having scored four runs.