On Monday, Texas’ baseball team saw their season come to an end in what can only be considered one of the most heartbreaking ways in school history.
In Game 3 against Stanford in Palo Alto of the Super Regional, the Longhorns were able to battle back from being down three runs on two separate occasions. Despite having pitching issues and the bats not really being as hot as they were earlier in the season, Texas was able to put themselves in a position to win the game or at the very least push it to extra innings.
However, to say the ninth inning was the flukiest inning of college baseball ever may not even do it justice. With the game tied at six and two outs with a strike zone that appeared to be shrinking by the pitch, Stanford’s Alberto Rios launched a pitch to left field. While Rios and Stanford thought the ball went over, it actually bounced off the wall.
Rios tossed his helmet off while the Stanford dugout appeared to be running to home plate to celebrate. However, the ball was thrown in and Rios was nearly tagged out. That shrinking strike zone then came into play when Stanford’s next hitter came up and was walked to put runners on first and second.
Lucas Gordon had to face Stanford slugger Drew Bowser, who had homered earlier in the game. Gordon was able to get Bowser to chase and get under a pitch, skying into right center. Gordon began to walk off the field confidently, knowing Texas would have a chance to take the lead again in the 10th inning.
It was evident right away that the cameraman had no clue where the ball was going because Texas’ center fielder Eric Kennedy and right fielder Dylan Campbell stood in the outfield practically motionless. Shortstop Mitchell Daly began sprinting into the outfield pointing at the ball as it aimlessly fell between Kennedy and Campbell. The typically routine popup got lost in the lights.
This is how Stanford gets to Omaha and how Texas’ season ends. A tough way to end what was a great game. pic.twitter.com/gZqoYmszwY
— CardinalCountry (@AllCardinal) June 13, 2023
Rios would go on to score from second base, securing the 7-6 victory for Stanford. Texas players were in shock. The loss was so painful that Longhorns fans began to rank where it fell in terms of most painful losses in the last 20 years of Texas sports. While the ranking had the right moments, I would argue the order.
Here are what I believe are the 10 most painful losses of the last 20 years for Texas athletics.