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Texas Takes Home Phillips 66 Baseball Championship
May 24, 2009

By Wendell Barnhouse |
Big 12 Correspondent 

OKLAHOMA CITY - Reading the score by innings, the scoreboard at AT&T Brickyard Ballpark was deceptive. One for Missouri in the first, one for Texas in the home half of the third, one for Texas in the bottom of the fourth, three for Missouri in the top of the fifth, three for Missouri in the top of the ninth ...

But as your eyes moved from left to right to the runs column, the true story was unveiled: 12.

That "one" for the Longhorns in the bottom of the fourth? The Brick's scoreboard isn't equipped for double digits. Texas, the Big 12 regular-season champions, scored 11 runs in a furious fourth.

The huge inning, highlighted by Cameron Rupp's grand slam home run to center field, enabled the top-seeded Longhorns to cruise to a 12-7 victory over third-seeded Missouri in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship Sunday.

"One of my theories is that championships are decided by the unexpected," Texas coach Augie Garrido, whose team is 41-13-1 and was awarded a first-round NCAA tournament host site. "It would be expected that we'd win with pitching and defense."

In four games the Longhorns scored 34 runs. In their last two games, they committed four errors in their last two games. Against Missouri, four Texas pitchers walked 10.

Missouri starter Scooter Hicks, a senior left hander, went through the first three innings allowing just one hit - a lead-off homer to Preston Clark in the bottom of the third. Hicks' nickname is Hurricane and in the fourth inning he wound up in the eye of the storm.

Hicks started the fourth by hitting lead-off hitter Brandon Belt _ the first of three UT batters plunked in the inning. Before the inning was over, Hicks and three relievers - Ryan Clubb, Phil McCormick and Ryan Gargano - faced 15 Texas hitters, allowing six hits and three walks.

"We had a lot of quality at bats that inning," Garrido said. "There were a lot of border line pitches that went our way. The inning got to spinnin' (on Missouri) and we didn't break the rally up."

Texas shortstop Brandon Loy, chosen the Big 12's most outstanding player, drove in the first two runs with a bases-loaded single. Rupp, a catcher who was DHing, took a two-ball, one-strike pitch from Clubb to the grass berm beyond the center field to make it 11-1. A Loy triple and a Kevin Keyes double capped the scoring.

Loy made three errors Saturday in the victory over Kansas State that put Texas into Sunday's championship game.

"This kind of makes up for Saturday," said Loy, who was two-of-four against the Tigers and was nine-of-14 in four games here. "I'm just feeling good at the plate, my timing's good. We won the conference so I guess we should come out win the tournament, too."

This is only the fourth time in 13 seasons that the regular-season champion has won the conference tournament. Texas previously pulled the double play in 2002; Nebraska did it in 2001 and 2005.

Garrido referred to his grand-slam hitting DH as "four-finger Rupp." He suffered an injured ring finger on his throwing hand during Saturday's game.

"I wasn't comfortable throwing the ball but I knew I could hit," Rupp said. "I didn't think (the homer) would get out; I wasn't sure it was high enough."

Missouri was in the championship game for the second time (the Tigers lost to Oklahoma State in 2004). Coach Tim Jamieson's team defeated Oklahoma 5-4 Saturday then had to wait and hope that Texas A&M would beat Texas Tech Saturday night. After a two-hour rain delay, the Aggies closed out an 11-4 victory.

The Tigers used eight pitchers eight pitchers; only two lasted more than an inning. After the 11-run fourth, Missouri limited Texas to just three hits.

Extra bases
* Missouri is the first school in Big 12 history to play in the championship game in football, men's basketball and baseball in the same calendar year. Oklahoma and Texas are the only other Big 12 schools that have played for the title in all three sports; neither have done it in the same calendar year.

* In addition to Austin being selected as an NCAA baseball regional host, Oklahoma will also be one of 16 first-round host sites. The 64-team bracket will be announced at 11:30 a.m. CT Monday.

* The all-tournament team: 1B: Brandon Belt, Texas; 2B: Joey Hainsfurther, Baylor; SS: Brandon Loy, Texas; 3B: Tony Thompson, Texas; C: J.T. Wise, Oklahoma; OF: Jamie Johnson, Oklahoma; OF: Ryan Lollis, Missouri; OF: Kyle Colligan, Texas A&M; DH:  Dustin Dickerson, Baylor; pitchers: Chance Ruffin, Texas; Andrew Doyle, Oklahoma; Craig Fritsch, Baylor.

* Texas' 11 runs batted in during its 11-run fourth inning is a Big 12 Championship record.

* Texas catcher Preston Clark, who homered in his first at bat, had a 340-foot run-scoring single in the 11-run fourth. With the bases loaded, Clark drove a ball to the warning track in left. Missouri's Aaron Senne tracked it but slipped as he moved to make the catch. With the runners holding to tag up, Clark ended up at first.

Tough to double up
A look at the regular-season champion and the Big 12 tournament champion since the inception of the Big 12. Texas became the fourth team to double up. Texas (2002 and 2009) and Nebraska (2001 and 2005) have each done it twice
Year   Reg. season  Tourney
1997   Texas Tech     Oklahoma
1998   Texas A&M     Texas Tech
1999   Texas A&M     Nebraska
2000   Baylor             Nebraska
2001   Nebraska        Nebraska
2002   Texas             Texas
2003   Nebraska        Texas
2004   Texas             Oklahoma State
2005   Nebraska        Nebraska
2006   Texas             Kansas
2007   Texas             Texas A&M
2008   Texas A&M     Texas
2009   Texas             Texas


OKLAHOMA CITY Top-seeded Texas captured its second straight Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship title on Sunday, posting a 12-7 win over Missouri at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark.

Reliever Austin Dicharry earned the victory for the Longhorns with two innings of work and improved to 7-2 on the year. MU starter Scooter Hicks took the loss, lasting three innings and striking out a pair of batters. Texas and Missouri utilized a combined 12 pitchers in the final game of the tournament.

Brandon Loy led the way at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. He was given the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship Most Outstanding Player award for his efforts. Preston Clark also had a 2-for-4 day with two RBI and one run.

Missouri opened with one run in the top of the first, as Austin Holt scored after being hit by a pitch, stealing second, advancing on a throwing error and finally coming across on a single by Greg Folgia. It would be the Tigers’ lone run until the fourth inning.

Texas responded with a run in the bottom of the third, as Clark homered to left. In the bottom of the fourth, the Longhorns exploded for 11 runs on six hits. Brandon Belt and Michael Torres were plated on a single to left by Loy, and Clark singled to left to bring Rupp across. Russell Moldenhauer hit a sac fly to center to chalk up another run with Loy, while Kevin Keyes scored as Travis Tucker was plunked with a pitch.

Rupp, in his second at-bat of the inning, cleared the bags with a grand slam to score Torres, Belt and Tucker. Loy then ripped a triple to center and Keyes doubled to left to score Loy, bringing the tally to 12-1.

Missouri narrowed the lead with three runs in the top of the fifth, as Michael Liberto drew a base on balls, followed by an RBI triple to left center by Holt. Ryan Lollis singled through the left side to score Holt, after which Lollis stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. Greg Folgia’s lineout to center brought Lollis across, as the board read 12-4.

After three scoreless innings, the Tigers mounted their final comeback attempt in the top of the ninth with an additional trio of runs. Folgia reached on a fielder’s choice to score Liberto, and Aaron Senne walked to bring in Holt. Kyle Mach had a sacrifice fly to right to score Lollis, but the inning was halted with a double play to seal the 12-7 Texas win.

With the win, UT earns the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. The Longhorns will host the Austin Regional, beginning Friday, May 29. NCAA tournament pairings will be announced at 11:30 a.m. Monday, May 25 on ESPN.

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