Texas's big righty Taylor Jungmann, who had pitched to 1 1/2 batters in relief on Monday without throwing a strike, pitched a dominating complete game against the Tigers. Austin Ross got the start for LSU and was lifted after 2 innings when it became clear the Longhorns were hitting him hard. Ryan Byrd was the first pitcher out of the bullpen but he struggled worse. By the time the Tigers found a pitcher who had something for the Longhorns (Nolan Cain), we found ourselves behind 5-1 and that was how the game ended, 6 1/3 innings later.
The Tigers blew some opportunities to score runs. DJ Lemahieu led off the 3rd inning with a triple, but could not score after Schimpf lined out to second base, Dean walked, Gibbs struck out, and Mahtook grounded to 3rd. In the 6th, Dean got the second base on an infield hit with a throwing error, but was then thrown out when he left the bag early on a fly out centerfield.
In all, the Tigers only got 5 hits on the night as Jungmann was just outstanding. What's worse, we had to use up both Cain and Bradshaw, who probably pitched 3.1 and 3.0 inning respectively, who will not be available tonight in all likelihood.
Nolan Cain probably made his last appearance as a Tiger last night, and it must be bittersweet. He pitched very well, but came into the game in too deep of a hole for it to really matter.
The good news is that tonight's pitching matchup is much more favorable for the Tigers than last night's was. Texas will have Cole Green, who is surely a pretty good pitcher, but his ERA is more than 1 point higher than Jungmann's, and his strikeout rate is considerably lower. Opponents are hitting more than 40 points higher on Green than on Jungmann. His last game was on Friday when he had a solid outing against Arizona State, giving up 2 runs in 6 innings.
The bats will need to come alive. They've been a little silent in this series, obviously last night in particular. The key will be getting to Green early. If it gets to the late innings, we're going to see Austin Wood again, but if we can get to Green early, we will see the softer parts of the bullpen, the parts that we were able to get to on Monday.
We need a great outing from Ranaudo, too, obviously. With both Coleman and Ross struggling in starts, we've been heavily reliant on the bullpen and I'm not sure how much more it can go. According to Weather Underground, game time temperature is supposed to be 94 degrees. I hope we can get a good 6 or 7 innings out of Ranaudo in that kind of heat. Otherwise, this could be trouble.
Baseball is a simple game. If we get good pitching and good hitting, that's pretty much all you need to win.