Posted May 3rd, 2009 by Mike
Filed under: Baseball, Feature

Travis Tucker hit a grand slam Saturday against Baylor.

Travis Tucker hit a grand slam Saturday against Baylor. (Image: Statesman.com)

The Texas baseball team took a huge step towards a Big 12 title over the weekend by sweeping [tag]Baylor[/tag] in a three game home split series. That is now two sweeps of top conference foes in the last three series, the first came two weekends ago against [tag]Oklahoma[/tag]. The Longhorns needed a big weekend following a 0-2-1 series at home against [tag]Kansas State[/tag].

Texas has relied on pitching for much of the season but in the first two games the Longhorn offense exploded for double digit run totals thanks in large part to horrible defense by Baylor.

Augie Garrido’s group hosted game one on Friday in Austin in a matchup between [tag]Chance Ruffin[/tag] and Kendal Volz that aired on ESPNU. Volz, the closer for last year’s USA national team and a likely first round pick, struggled early with his control and Longhorn hitters took advantage. [tag]Kevin Lusson[/tag], playing at DH and on fire, came through with an RBI in the first inning. UT added another run on a Volz wild pitch to take a 2-0 lead after one.

The Longhorns added two more in the second, and following a Baylor run in the top of the third, added a fifth run in the third.

Up 5-1 with Ruffin cruising Texas looked to put the game away early but Baylor added two in the top of the fifth and one more in the top of the sixth to cut the lead to 5-4.

The Bears had the momentum, and Volz had settled down by getting ahead of Texas hitters, but the Baylor defense couldn’t stay out of their own way. They committed seven total errors on the night, one of which was on Volz himself.

Texas scratched across four runs in the seventh and three runs in the eight to stretch the lead to 12-4 with closer [tag]Austin Wood[/tag] on the mound. Wood pitched three total innings, a decision that was puzzling with an eight run lead and two more games left in the weekend, allowing no runs.

On Saturday the series moved to Waco. And it wasn’t a good day to be a pitcher. The two teams, both known for solid pitching, allowed a total 30 runs on 25 hits in the nine inning slug fest. It was the Longhorns once again that jumped on the Bears early with 10 runs in the first three innings.

The offense was led by the home runs of [tag]Travis Tucker[/tag], [tag]Brandon Belt[/tag], and [tag]Cameron Rupp[/tag]. [tag]Connor Rowe[/tag] had his second strong game in a row collecting four hits in six at bats on Saturday alone.

[tag]Cole Green[/tag] got the start for Texas and he gave the Horns a very solid seven innings of work. The sophomore gave up five runs, only two were earned, with 10 strikeouts. Texas stretched the lead all the way to 19-5 going into the ninth inning where Baylor made a late push to bring the score closer but it was too little too late.

Texas needed the sweep on Sunday in Baylor to put an exclamation point on the series and that is exactly what they did. Texas teams in the past few years have lacked that killer instinct, hopefully a performance like this weekend’s propels them into the postseason.

[tag]Taylor Jungmann[/tag] got a rare weekend start in place of [tag]Brandon Workman[/tag] as he battles a few injuries and bad outings. And the freshman made a case to make the move permanent with a dominating performance. The former Georgetown star struck out 10 batters in six innings allowing only one run on three hits. Jungmann has the most upside of any pitcher on Texas’ staff and it was a great sign to see him step up in a big moment.

Baylor got a great pitching performance of their own from Willie Kempf, but the Longhorn bats managed to a few more runs than the Bears could match.

Texas’ offense was led by the three hits of leadoff hitter [tag]Michael Torres[/tag] and the huge two run RBI homerun by Rupp, his second of the series.

Wood came in to close out his second game in three days to seal up the series.

The sweep puts Texas to the top of the standings along with A&M and Kansas State. The Longhorns will face A&M at home May 8th-10th in what could become a series to decide the regular season championship and the number one seed in the conference tournament. With a series win against the Aggies the Longhorns would essentially become a lock to be one of the top 8 seeds in the national tournament. That would mean Texas wouldn’t have to play outside of Austin until the College World Series if they were able to advance that far.

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1 Comment

  1. reply to  #1

    bevostumpedrevielle

    congrats for the big12 title

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