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By the end of today’s game, the No. 1 seed Longhorns (42-15) probably felt like they were on the road in a super regional. Led by a couple dominant performances by relievers from their respective bullpens, Texas and No. 4 seed Oklahoma State (35-16-1) played a very tight, back-and-forth and highly competitive Big 12 Tournament game in front of a big, energetic crowd in Oklahoma City.

Unfortunately for the Longhorns, they came up short as freshman stopper Aaron Nixon uncharacteristically walked in a run with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth inning and Texas couldn’t tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. The 5-4 loss ended Texas’ stay in the Big 12 Tournament.

“I don’t feel like we’ve lost momentum. I feel like we’re still a confident team,” said David Pierce when asked if his team gained momentum with its performance in Oklahoma City. “And I feel like our kids will do a good job of making some adjustments where they need to make adjustments. But I don’t know if we gained a ton of momentum, but we sure haven’t lost any.”

I’m going to take more of a big picture approach to this postgame column in addition to dropping in some immediate reaction from today’s game:

— Texas is locked into a national top eight seed. It would be a stunner if the Longhorns were not in that position on Monday when the field is unveiled at 11:00 a.m. on ESPN2. Hanging around in the Big 12 Tournament with a couple wins strengthened Texas’ chances to be somewhere between No. 2 and No. 4 overall.

— Today was a step in the right direction for Kolby Kubichek. Pierce noted after the game he was pleased Kubichek was knocked around early and responded with a strong performance until a couple of walks chased him from the game in the fifth inning; an inning when OSU built a 4-2 lead on a two-out, two-strike, two-RBI single on a quality 1-2 breaking ball from Jared Southard.

In particular, Kubichek threw his changeup with as much confidence as I’ve seen, and there were some moments when it was a good, swing-and-miss pitch versus lefties. Kubichek was better than his line – 4.1 innings, four earned runs, four hits, two walks, two strikeouts – suggested, but he also wasn’t great either. Still, it was at least a small step forward for a pitcher Texas is going to need this postseason.

— Pierce noted after today’s game Ivan Melendez, who didn’t play today, threw up four times, give or take, during last night’s game. So, today was both a mental and physical day off for the slugger, who experienced a very rough trip to Oklahoma City with nine strikeouts in three games. Melendez’s backside was getting away from him in his swing and he really lacked confidence in the box. When he’s at his best, he’s attacking and letting a more confident bat rip through the hitting zone.

“He needed that,” said Pierce about today’s day off for Melendez. “And last night in the game, I think he threw up four times in the dugout. So, he was beat down pretty good as well physically. And then you throw in the mental side of punching out as much as he did. It was a rough weekend for Ivan. But you know, he’s just got to trust himself. He’s got to get back in there and realize why he’s good. And I think his confidence goes in and out too much. Hitters that hit and believe that they can hit are great hitters, and he’s got to stay locked in to thinking he’s one of the best guys in the country as opposed to, you know, looking the other direction.”

— After 3.0 dominant innings today, in which he gave up just one hit, one walk and struck out four, Cole Quintanilla hasn’t allowed a run his last 10.0 innings. He’s throwing his best at Texas at the perfect time. As for Nixon, I’m not sweating his performance at all. He’s a very, very strong competitor mentally. Pitch in enough high leverage situations and things like that are going to happen occasionally.

— The Longhorns struck out 47 times in four Big 12 Tournament games. 47. You’re kidding yourself if you don’t think it’s an area Texas needs to make a collective adjustment to remedy quickly. But you’re also kidding yourself if you think Texas didn’t face excellent pitching throughout the event. It happens.

In my opinion, Texas was too passive in the batter’s box and allowed opposing pitching to too often dictate the demeanor of the at-bat and tempo of the game…