OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The No. 24 Texas Longhorns logged 19 hits to post a 15-7 win over the Kansas State Wildcats in the title game of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark.
It was the third league tournament crown for Texas who also won the prize in 2002 and 2003.
Brandon Belt was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship Most Outstanding Player. He went .588 (10-of-17) with five runs, two doubles, one home run and 10 RBI in four games.
On Sunday, Texas’ offense was led by Russell Moldenhauer who went 4-for-6 with two runs, two doubles and four RBI. Cameron Rupp went 3-for-4 with three runs, one double and one RBI. Michael Torres and Jordan Danks each went 3-for-6 with two RBI. Brandon Belt and Kyle Russell each logged two hits.
Kansas State (29-29) registered 11 hits on the afternoon. Derek Bunker, Nate Tenbrink, Byron Wiley and Rob Vaughn all went 2-for-4. Jason King added three RBI.
Texas (37-20) utilized a Kansas State error to break the scoring seal in the top of the first inning. Torres reached base to start the frame when the putout throw from KSU’s third baseman Tenbrink pulled the first baseman off the sack. Danks followed with a single through the right side of the infield to put runners at the corners and Torres scored when Russell grounded into a double play.
The Wildcats scored an equalizer in the top of the second inning. Wiley reached on an infield hit, Vaughn singled to leftfield and Dan Yelovich reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Bunker grounded into a double play to push Wiley across, knotting the score at 1-1.
Texas reclaimed the lead with a four-run third inning. Rupp hit a leadoff double down the rightfield line and moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Travis Tucker. Torres doubled to the wall in leftfield to drive in Rupp and scored on Danks’ wall-banging triple to centerfield, giving the Horns a 3-1 lead. Russell and Moldenhauer followed with RBI singles to inflate the cushion to 5-1.
The lead ballooned to 9-1 in the top of the fourth. Rupp was hit by a pitch to start the inning and a Torres single put runners at first and third. Danks singled to rightfield, driving in Rupp. With one out, Brandon Belt plated a pair with a double to leftfield and scored on an RBI single by Moldenhauer to give the Horns an eight-run advantage.
Kansas State mounted a rally in the home half of the fifth. Bunker hit a leadoff single to leftfield and Tenbrink and Biery drew walks around a pair of strikeouts to saturate the base paths with Wildcats. Jason King unloaded the bases with a double to the gap in left centerfield to cut the lead to 9-4. Wiley followed with a blast over the wall in dead centerfield which Danks pulled back into play, but resulted in an RBI triple. Vaughn capped off the rally with a single to plate Wiley cutting the lead to 9-6.
Texas squelched the Kansas State uprising with three runs in the top of sixth inning. The rally was highlighted by a two-run double by Moldenhauer and a single to leftfield by David Hernandez to stake the Horns to a 12-6 lead.
The Horns scored three more in the eighth on RBI singles by Rupp, Tucker and Torres, expand the chasm to 15-6.
The Wildcats scored once in the bottom of the ninth with a sacrifice fly by Justin Bloxom to plate Carter Jurica.
Austin Wood (6-3) earned his second win of the tournament, pitching 3.1 innings of one-hit, scoreless relief, fanning two. Riley Boening pitched 4.0 innings as the starter, allowing one run on five hits and two walks while striking out four.