By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
OKLAHOMA CITY –
Need a definition for "Longhorn baseball?" Check out Texas’ 9-3 victory over Oklahoma State Friday.
Faced with another win-or-go-home situation in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship, the regular-season co-champions used timely hitting and solid pitching to earn another day of play. Texas will face Missouri at 9 a.m. Saturday at RedHawks Field. If the Longhorns win, the teams will meet again at 4 p.m..
Senior Cole Green improved to 7-3 with six solid innings. The Longhorns clogged the bases thanks to 13 hits, four walks, two hit batters and two Oklahoma State errors. The Cowboys (35-23) were eliminated and return to Stillwater to await their NCAA tournament fate.
"Cole (Green) set the tone and the pace. He was very aggressive to the mitt," Texas coach Augie Garrido said, noting that his team played its second consecutive solid game. ""We sustained the rallies. We did a good job hitting with runners in scoring position. We’re now hitting."
Oklahoma State took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third on an impressive homer to left by Devin Shines. Texas answered with three in the bottom half of the inning but Garrido was more impressed by how Green responded to giving up a "big fly."
"He didn’t waver, flinch or change," Garrido said. "He kept attacking the glove. It showed everybody on the field that he was going to pitch a fearless game no matter what happened."
Shortstop Brandon Loy, who had extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a double in the first inning, started UT’s third-inning rally with an infield single. The Cowboys, who lead the Big 12 in double plays, failed to convert a grounder to short into a twin killing. That contributed to the three-run inning that gave Texas the lead for good.
"We didn't make some plays early in the game," Oklahoma State coach Frank Anderson said. "We kicked a couple balls around, we dropped some stuff. Right there, you're going to have to make those plays and we didn't make them."
In its last two games, Texas has collected 24 hits. The offense has been a season-long challenge for the Longhorns but Garrido and his players are seeing a collective improvement at the plate.
"I think it’s a lot about maturity," said Loy, a three-year starter who collected his 24th multi-hit game of the season. "We had a bunch of young guys who came in, and they know how to play total offense. They know how to do things right."
Doing things right and playing "Longhorns baseball" with the NCAA tournament coming up is a good sign for Texas.