The Longhorn bats got going early and didn’t stop, scoring runs in the first five consecutive innings Sunday.
The Texas Longhorns and Texas Tech Red Raiders squared off Sunday for the rubber match of their three game set and if you looked at the hits total, you might have thought the game was close. But Texas took advantage of its scoring chances early and the game was essentially decided after the Horns strung five consecutive innings together with at least one run scored.
“The best about what happened today was the players stayed confident even after the loss yesterday,” said Texas head coach Augie Garrido. “This was the best offensive day we’ve had in a long time.”
The Longhorns got off to a fast start on Sunday, scoring two runs in the first. With one out in the inning third baseman Michael Torres singled, stole second and was driven in on another single from junior Brandon Belt. Cameron Rupp followed with a walk and a bloop single into shallow left that gave the Longhorns a 2-0 lead. The Horns were threatening for more but bailed out the Red Raiders with a strikeout from Kevin Keyes and Rupp getting caught stealing at third base.
Junior Cole Green had the start for the Longhorns on the day and although he only gave up one earned run, it wasn’t his best outing. He was chased after 4.2 innings after allowing two men to reach in the fifth, a somewhat surprising move considering he was one out away from qualifying for the win.
“He was struggling with his command and this was a must win game,” said Garrido. “The pitchers picked each other up today, though. They weren’t their sharpest but they got the job done.”
Lefty Keith Shinaberry came in to try and close out the inning but allowed an infield single against the one batter he faced and was pulled for right hander Austin Dicharry. With the bases loaded and two outs Dicharry got a fly ball to left to end the threat.
The Longhorns got it going again in the second with a Shepherd walk, a throwing error on pitcher Nathan Karns and a Brandon Loy sacrifice bunt that put runners at second and third. Travis Tucker followed with a line drive single into center making the score 3-0. Tucker stole second and a sac fly from Torres plated Lusson.
The Horns kept the pressure on in the third, once again scoring two more runs. Rupp and Russell Moldenhauer got things going, both reaching base on walks. Keyes followed a fielder’s choice leaving runners at first and second. Tant Shepherd stepped up and sent a deep ball just over the head of the center fielder. Rupp held at second to see if the ball would be caught and when he saw it bounce off the turf he took off, now with Keyes about fifteen feet behind him. It looked like a scene out of Major League as both were waved around third and sent for home. Moldenhauer crossed the plate with Keyes right behind sliding in just under the tag and giving the Horns a 6-1 lead.
Keyes drew a bases loaded walk to bring in Tucker in the fourth and Torres drove in Brandon Loy for the Horns’ final run, making the score 8-1.
Austin Dicharry picked up the win for the Longhorns in 2.2 innings of scoreless relief and was followed by Austin Wood contributing 1.2 scoreless of his own. The Longhorns improved to 17-7 overall and 4-5 in the Big 12, which is turning out to be a pretty competitive conference.
“It’s stacked this season,” said Dicharry of Big 12. “There are a lot of good teams coming in here week in week out and i think its going to get real interesting down the stretch.”
With every team in the conference having at least two losses at this point in the season it should be. But the Horns need to start making up ground fast and better start looking for series sweeps. They are scheduled to play Oral Roberts on Tuesday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field and resume Big 12 play next weekend in Stillwater against Oklahoma State.
Saturday: Tech Shuts Down the Horns in Game Two
Friday: Horns Take Game One Against Red Raiders