OKLAHOMA CITY -- Freshman Kenn Kasparek (Weimar, Texas) and junior J. Brent Cox (Bay City, Texas) held the Cowboys to one run over nine innings while the Longhorns' offense overcame an early deficit to lead No. 3 Texas (45-13) to a 6-1 win over Oklahoma State (34-25) in front of 3,600 fans during an elimination game at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament at SBC Bricktown Ballpark on Friday, May 27. With the victory, UT advances to the tournament semifinals for the fourth straight season and will now face the 13th ranked and No. 2 seed Baylor Bears on Saturday, May 28 at 10 a.m. CT.
Oklahoma State jumped on top 1-0 in the bottom of the second when a leadoff double from designated hitter Mike Hernandez combined with a sacrifice and a double-play grounder to bring in the first run of the ballgame. Two innings later, the Longhorns challenged the lead by placing runners on second and third with one out via a leadoff single from Drew Stubbs (Atlanta, Texas), a walk and a double steal, but OSU starter Scott Richmond managed to record a strikeout and a flyout to work out of the jam unscathed.
In the fifth, a leadoff bunt single from Nick Peoples (Round Rock, Texas) followed by a sac bunt and a RBI-base hit from Thomas Incaviglia (Monterey, Calif.) tied the game at 1-1. Still alive in the inning, UT then proceeded to load the bases on a hit from Robby Hudson (Redlands, Calif.) and a walk before a two-run single from Seth Johnston (Boerne, Texas) and a safety squeeze bunt off the bat of Chance Wheeless (Round Rock, Texas) brought in three more runs to stake the Longhorns to a 4-1 advantage. After a scoreless sixth for both sides, Texas managed to load the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh via two hits, an error and an intentional walk before a sac fly off the bat of Wheeless and a wild pitch yielded a pair of runs and a 6-1 UT lead. The Cowboys would look to answer in the bottom of the inning by placing their first two runners on with a single and a walk and getting both of them into scoring position on a wild pitch, but Cox came on in relief of Kasparek and retired his next three batters on a strikeout, a line out and a pop up to maintain the Horns' five-run advantage. While OSU would then place a runner on in both the eighth and the ninth, Cox did not let them advance past first en route to closing out the win and picking up his league-best 14th save by working three shutout frames. Earning the win was Kasparek, who allowed one run on seven hits over six innings and struck out three, to improve to 6-0 on the season, while Richmond incurred the loss.
Leading the UT offense, which saw each player tally at least one hit on the afternoon, was the trio of Hudson, Stubbs and Clay Van Hook (Brenham, Texas), who each recorded two hits while combining to account for four of Texas' six runs scored, Johnston, who extended his current hit streak to six games with his two-run single in the fifth, and Wheeless, who also drove in a pair of runs on the afternoon. On the other side of the ledger, Oklahoma State was paced by Adam Carr and Ty Wright, who each picked up two hits on the day.
Up next, the Longhorns will face Baylor in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament on May 28 at 10 a.m. Central in a contest that will be televised by Fox Sports Net. Of note, in order to advance to the tourney championship game on Sunday, May 29, the Longhorns will have to defeat the Bears twice on Saturday (10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central contests).
2005 Big 12 Tournament Postgame Notes & Quotes
· Senior second baseman Robby Hudson has now hit safely in 11 of the last 12 games.
· Sophomore centerfielder Drew Stubbs has reached base safely in 55 of 58 contests in 2005.
· Senior shortstop Seth Johnston is now riding a six-game hitting streak after his two-run single in the fifth inning. Additionally, he also posted his team-leading 16th multi-RBI game as he has now tallied the game-winning RBI in each of the last two contests for a team-best eight game-winners this season. Notably, he has also driven in at least one run during each of Texas' last six contests.
· By working six innings today, freshman starting pitcher Kenn Kasparek has now hurled at least five innings in eight of his nine starting assignments this season. The Weimar, Texas, native has also allowed only one earned run during each of his last four starts.
· With 12 hits on the afternoon, Texas has now posted 10 or more hits in 30 of their 58 games and in each of its three Big 12 Tournament contests to date.
· After working three scoreless innings against Oklahoma State on May 27, J. Brent Cox tallied his league-leading 14th save of the season and the 19th save of his career to not only move into a tie for third on the school single-season saves list, but also tie for second on the UT career saves chart.
· By scoring six unanswered runs against the Cowboys on May 27 to rally back from a 1-0 deficit, the Longhorns recorded their 17th come-from-behind victory of the season.
Head Coach Augie Garrido
On today's game: When the game started, I was looking to see if we could sustain the offensive momentum and build off of what we did yesterday. I thought that our effort against Kansas was one of our better games offensively. Today, I thought we did a good job of pitch selection both inside and outside of the strike zone. I was particularly pleased with Kenn Kasparek's performance. I really do think his height is a part of the issue. It comes from such a high release point that when it comes down into the zone, the angle it creates is two directions and it's hard for the eyes to track the ball in that direction.
On the importance of the win for the team and Kasparek: It was huge. It is also huge for him to be coming on like that as we move forward. For him to pitch the number of quality innings that he has pitched recently against top-flight opponents becomes another weapon in the war against losing.
Freshman pitcher Kenn Kasparek
On today's game: When you have a defense like ours, all you have to really do is throw strikes and guys are going to ground themselves into double plays. Oklahoma State did a really good job of battling. I know I had them 1-2 and 0-2 a few times, but they always put the ball in play.
On how his last start helped him today: It was definitely a confidence-booster to start against [Texas] A&M. It was really fun and I got the feel for starting in a conference game because it was my first one.
On working at least five innings in eight of his nine starts to date this year: Any start that I pitch, I'm going to try to compete as long as I possibly can. Five, six, seven or even nine. If they need me to go nine innings, I'm going to do my best to try to go out there and compete for nine innings.
Sophomore outfielder Drew Stubbs
On the team's offensive performance today: I guess all you can ask for is production throughout your entire lineup and obviously we got that today. Whenever you can put together an offensive game like that, good things happen for you.