Oh, awkward, momentum-killing, ten-day break in the homestretch of the schedule, how do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways. The rust that I discussed after the Texas State victory was in full effect in Saturday's double-header, as the offense managed only one run on eleven hits in nineteen innings. The team struck out seventeen times and walked only four times.
After playing at least four games a week for several months, it's not hard to see why a ten day stretch without facing game-speed competition is a very bad thing for hitters who rely on pitch recognition and timing. After averaging 5.6 runs/game for much of the season, the Bears have now scored four runs in their past three games. I fully believe that the offense will find their groove again in their last week of the regular season, but this is an awful time to go into a slump. In a double-elimination post-season, a sterling regular season record doesn't count for much if the bats are cold.
If you're looking for the silver lining, it's right here: the pitching staff. Over the three games since the ten-day break, they've given up only three runs (two earned). Led by Turley and Blank, who received his first loss of the year on a day where he absolutely did not deserve it, the staff has put up a 0.68 ERA since the season resumed. No rust here.
The Bears try to salvage the last game of the series tomorrow, and my assumption is that they'll do it with a chip on their collective shoulder. Being swept by an underachieving Oklahoma team was not on this their to do list.