Texas vs. Baylor
The Texas Longhorns dropped two out of three games against the Baylor Bears in their final regular season series.
The Baylor Bears (42-12, 20-4) took two of three from the Texas Longhorns (30-20,14-10) this weekend and put the Longhorns NCAA Tournament hopes into jeopardy.
The ‘Horns dropped game one in blowout fashion 16-5, with starting pitcher Dillon Peters only lasting one and two thirds innings. Nathan Thornhill entered in the second inning with Texas down 3-0 and threw a wild pitch scoring the runner from third base. Thornhill wound up going three and a third innings but allowed six runs to cross the plate. Josh Turley remained his dominant self for the Bears, advancing to 8-0 on the season by throwing seven strong innings and allowing only two runs.
Texas’ offense came in the form of Jonathan Walsh, but his bat didn’t pick up until the game was way out of hand. Walsh went 2-for-4 with a homerun and four RBIs and broke up the 5-0 shutout in the top of the sixth with his homerun. The Bears then answered that with seven runs in the bottom of the sixth and four more in the bottom of the seventh to make the score 16-2.
In game two on Friday night, Texas sent ace Corey Knebel to the mound. Knebel responded well getting through his first six innings with relative ease. However in the seventh inning, Knebel walked a batter, and after an out, gave up a single that put runners on the corners. Baylor then hit an RBI single to break up the 0-0 tie, and after Knebel walked another batter the bases were loaded. Knebel struck out the next batter but was replaced in favor of Hoby Milner with two outs. Milner gave up a two RBI single then picked a runner off to end the inning.
Baylor was able to win the game 4-0, following a ninth inning home run, even though Texas outhit the Bears seven to five. Texas stranded seven on base, including four in scoring position.
In the series closer, Texas was finally able to get enough runs across the plate and hold the Bears’ hitters in check. John Curtiss got the start, and pitched four and two thirds innings, allowing only one run which was impressive considering the jams he got into. Milner earned the win by pitching four and a third innings of shutout relief while allowing only two hits.
Texas started off the game with an Erich Weiss RBI single, giving Texas a 1-0 advantage after one inning. The Bears finally responded in the fifth after an RBI sacrifice fly evened the score at one run apiece. The score would remain 1-1 until a wild pitch allowed Walks to score from third, giving Texas a 2-1 lead.
Baylor threatened in the top of the ninth with a leadoff double. However, the next Bear flew out and the runner on second was gunned down at third trying to tag up. A groundout to Brooks Marlow ended the game and gave the ‘Horns a much needed victory.
Series Grade: B-
The Longhorns are in trouble heading into the postseason. Their pitching staff is depleted and their lineup is in disarray after a handful of injuries. Yet the Longhorns were able to improve their fielding, committing only two errors in their three game series. With the way this season is going, one can only ask what if? What if second round pick Sam Stafford had stayed healthy this season? What if outfielder Cohl Walla had avoided his injuries that cost him this season? What if Taylor Stell or Parker French could have remained healthy?
With the win, Texas did secure the three seed in the Big 12 Tournament and will face the Missouri Tigers in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament. They will be on the same side of the bracket as the Texas A&M Aggies and Kansas Jayhawks. The ‘Horns will need to win a game or two to clinch their at large bid to the NCAA field. Of course, they could just win the Big 12 Championship and receive an automatic bid