Stanford ace Bubic silences Texas bats
Horns second baseman Clemens’ 13-game hitting streak snapped.
Shh! Don’t yell. You wouldn’t want to wake up those Texas bats.
That’s how it felt at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Friday night as the previously hot Texas offense went silent against seventh-ranked Stanford.
One night after putting up 12 hits in the series opener, the 23rd-ranked Longhorns ran headlong into Kris Bubic, whose left arm doubled as a silencer. Bubic held the Horns to three hits and a run through six innings, and his teammates jumped on Texas starter Nolan Kingham in a 7-1 win.
Bubic, a junior, one-hit the Longhorns over the first four innings, and that hit came on leadoff man David Hamilton’s bunt in the third inning. It actually loaded the bases with no outs because Bubic had issued a pair of walks. The would-be rally dissolved into nothing after Hamilton was called out for runner’s interference on Kody Clemens’ one-out chopper and that was followed by a force-out.
Bubic (3-0) struck out nine and walked five as
he threw 103 pitches. He was able to get his 90 mph-plus fastball over the plate and kept the Horns off balance with some deceptive off-speed stuff.
Texas (9-5) had scored 46 runs in its past four games but couldn’t touch Bubic, which comes as little surprise since he entered the game with a 16-inning scoreless streak. It stretched to 22 before he was charged with an earned run in the seventh as Duke Ellis’ groundout off reliever Jacob Palisch scored pinch runner Kamron Fields.
“He commanded the zone on both sides of the plate,” Texas DH Zach Zubia said. “His (velocity) was up there. I think he was topping out at 93 and 94. He was spot on. He was money.”
The Cardinal (12-2) returned to their stingy ways after giving up a season-high eight runs in the opener. Before the 8-6 loss Thursday, Stanford had surrendered only nine runs in its previous five games. Three pitchers handcuffed Texas the entire evening and became the first group to hold second baseman Clemens hitless. Clemens, who hit his fourth homer of the year in the opener, went 0 for 3 and had his hitting streak snapped at 13 games.
“Bubic was as good as advertised,” Texas coach David Pierce said. “We knew we would get minimum opportunities.”
While Bubic continued his solid start to the season, Kingham (2-2) never appeared comfortable on the mound. Worse yet, when he got ahead of Stanford’s hitters, he struggled to close out at-bats. Nico Hoerner’s solo homer in the first inning was only the beginning of his problems. Right fielder Brandon Wulff connected on a three-run homer for a 5-0 lead in the fifth. The two hitters atop Stanford’s order — Tim Tawa and Hoerner — combined to go 5 for 9 with a pair of RBIs and four runs.
Kingham gave up five earned runs on 10 hits with three strikeouts and a walk.
“He left the ball up,” Pierce said. “His best two pitches, he’s got to get the ball down . ... It’s a good test for him. He hasn’t been as sharp as opening night, and we’ve got to get him right.”
Stanford added a pair in the eighth on a bases-loaded walk and a sacrifice fly.
It’s a good test not just for Kingham but for his teammates. For many years, then-Texas coach Augie Garrido used the Stanford series as a measuring stick for what his team needed to work on before Big 12 play. This Cardinal group is solid in all areas, and if you told Pierce before the series that his team would split the first two games against the seventh-ranked team in the country, he would have taken it, no questions asked.
“Honestly, (this series) builds character,” he said. “We know we would have to perform against a quality team every single game this weekend. They outplayed us tonight.”