They talk about picking each other up like it’s a job.
So late Friday night after the emotional fireworks following a 7-6 loss to Missouri, Texas pitcher Adrian Alaniz sent Preston Clark a text message.
“Keep your head up. I’m going to need you,” Alaniz’s text said.
Clark, the Longhorns catcher, was upset because his error in the 11th inning allowed the winning run to score. Saturday was different.
Clark had three hits and scored two runs, and Alaniz continued his dominant pitching as the Longhorns beat Missouri 5-1 in front of 4,971 fans at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
If the Longhorns beat the Tigers today, Texas will claim its second consecutive Big 12 regular-season title. If Missouri wins, the Longhorns will need any future combination of two victories or Missouri losses to clinch the title.
“This feels so much better,” Clark said. “My teammates put last night’s loss as a team loss, but I thought it was my fault.”
There was no finger pointing after the Horns evened up the series. Alaniz (12-2) threw 8 1/3 innings, allowing just three hits and a run on 118 pitches.
Alaniz worked inside and battled as he has all season.
That’s the approach Texas pitching coach Skip Johnson preaches.
“Adrian’s performance was really big today, because he allowed us to save the bullpen after we used them Friday,” Johnson said.
Alaniz received the offensive support he needed in the fourth inning, when Bradley Suttle singled, Clark doubled and, two batters later, Chais Fuller knocked in both of them with a two-out single.
Fuller, who was 3 for 4, knocked in Clark again in the sixth inning, when Texas scored three more runs to take a 5-0 lead. The final runs came when Kyle Russell knocked a two-run single between first and second base with two outs.
“The difference in the game was that we had two chances with two outs and we couldn’t come through. They had two chances with two outs and they came through,” Jamieson said.
Russell thought it was more than that.
“This win really showed something about our team after last night,” he said. “We all went home and went to bed early and came back here ready to fight for a victory. And that’s exactly what we did.”
For Texas, the only negative from Saturday’s game was an injury to outfielder Jordan Danks, who bruised his shoulder when he ran into the wall making a critical catch in the fifth inning. The Tigers had the bases loaded with two outs when Danks made the play .
“It’s not separated, it’s just bruised,” Texas coach Augie Garrido said. “How long he’s out will depend on how much it swells up.”