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Texas beats Kansas State 10-3!

The three hits off Preston Clark’s bat weren’t game-changing.

They were just needed on a personal level.

No Longhorn was in search of a big day like Clark, the starting catcher, and he found one Friday in Texas’ 10-3 victory over Kansas State at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

Clark went 3 for 3 with two RBIs, including a home run in the fifth inning that gave Texas a 2-0 lead.

“This feels great. I really needed this,” said Clark, who entered the game hitting .273 after a slump ate away at his formerly .400-plus average. “The past month has been difficult. I really didn’t feel comfortable with my swing, and I was thinking a lot at the plate.”

Goodbye struggles. Goodbye slump.

Hello confidence.

“I knew he was ready to break out,” Texas coach Augie Garrido said. “It was just a matter of time.”

Clark and Bradley Suttle, whose three-run homer in the fifth inning gave the Horns a 6-0 lead, provided plenty of offense for starter James Russell (5-2), who gave up five hits and three runs, all scored in the ninth inning.

Russell had faced just 26 batters heading into the ninth inning, getting five strikeouts in the process. “If you hit your spots in the early innings, it’s easier to get them to chase pitches later on in the game,” he said.

He had help when the Wildcats (17-5, 0-1 Big 12) did make contact.

Right fielder Kyle Russell made a couple of great plays, including a diving catch in the sixth inning, and every time the Wildcats hit a ball hard, a Longhorn was there to catch it.

“They go get the ball,” Kansas State coach Brad Hill said of the Texas outfielders. “It’s not easy to get a hit. If the ball’s in the air, they’re going to get to it. We’re going to have to hit the ball a little lower and a little farther.”

It’s been that way all season.

“I think you are going to see that all year,” said Garrido, whose team will go for its ninth straight victory today at 2 p.m. against Kansas State. “There aren’t going to be many teams who are more athletic than us.”

Texas, on the other hand, didn’t struggle to get hits.

The Longhorns (21-7, 4-0) pounded out 12 hits and have reached double-digit totals in hits 18 times this season. It was ninth time the team scored 10 or more runs.

Kyle Russell hit his 14th home run — a two-run blast in the seventh — to tie the school record for home runs hit in a season by a sophomore.

Suttle had two hits.

But Clark’s hits show everybody in the lineup is swinging the bat well.

“I think I’m finally out of my slump,” he said. “Getting out of a slump is not easy. But me and (Nick) Peoples have been taking extra swings and spending more time in the batting cages trying to work on things.”

Texas Recap
Box Score
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Texas wins seventh in a row with 5-3 decision over Texas State!

Austin Wood and Randy Boone combined to allow only one run over 8.1 innings of relief as No. 10 Texas posted a 5-3 win over Texas State in collegiate baseball action Tuesday evening at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

Wood (3-0) allowed one run on three hits and one walk while striking out one over 5.2 innings to earn the victory. Boone earned his sixth save of the season, allowing one hit while fanning five Bobcats over 2.2 innings.

Texas State (16-8) drew first blood with two runs in the first inning. Thomas Field and Laurn Randell drew walks to start the inning and David Wood plated both with a double to the wall in left centerfield.

Texas (20-7) trimmed the lead to 2-1 when Russell Moldenhauer hit his first career home run, a laser over the wall in left centerfield in the second inning.

The Longhorns took the lead with two runs in the third inning. Travis Tucker hit a leadoff single up the middle, stole second base and scored on a single by Chance Wheeless. With one out, Jordan Danks singled stole second base and scored on a single by Kyle Russell, staking Texas to a 3-2 lead.

Texas added two more runs in the fourth inning. Josh Prince was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brett Lewis, moved to third on an infield single by Kyle Lusson and scored on a wild pitch. The wild pitch allowed Lusson to move to third and he scored on a bunt single by Tucker.

The Bobcats made a late run at the Longhorns in the seventh. Singles by Elliott Babcock and Casey Guest sandwiched around a strikeout by Gerry Cervantez put runners at the corners. Boone came in to relieve Wood with one out and committed a balk on his second pitch, allowing Babcock to score. Field singled to once again put runners at the corners, but Field was caught stealing and Boone retired Randell on a strikeout for the final out.

B.J. Boening (0-2) was saddled with the loss for Texas State. He allowed three runs on four hits and three walks while striking out three over 2.2 innings.

Texas returns to action on Friday with the Longhorns hosting Kansas State in a 6:05 p.m. contest at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

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Kyle Russell hits two homers as Texas completes sweep of Baylor, 8-3!

Kyle Russell had three RBIs on two home runs Sunday to help lead Texas to an 8-3 victory over Baylor.

Brad Suttle hit an RBI double and Russell followed with his first homer of the afternoon to give Texas (19-7, 3-0 Big 12) a 3-0 lead in the fourth. Texas added a run in the fifth on a triple by Chance Wheeless and another in the sixth on Russell’s solo homer.

The game was the fourth this year in which Russell hit two home runs.

The Longhorns got their final three runs in the eighth. Suttle singled to score Wheeless and then scored on a throwing error. Russell scored on a single by Josh Prince.

Chase Gerdes homered for Baylor (12-10, 0-3) in the fifth. Seth Hammock hit an RBI single in the sixth and Tim Jackson scored on a throwing error for the other Bear runs.

Joseph Krebs (4-0) gave up one run on five hits an struck out two in five innings for Texas.

Randall Linebaugh (2-2) took the loss for Baylor, giving up five runs on six hits in seven innings.

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Box score
Baylors Recap

Texas pops Baylor with 11 runs in 2-inning stretch.

All Baylor needed was a strike. One pitch over the plate and the inning would have been over.

Texas still would have trailed 2-0. The Bears would have been coming to bat. But what appeared to be a strike was called a ball. Then there was a walk . . . and another walk . . . and a single.

Eight batters later, Texas led 7-2.

Game over.

Texas turned everything around in the third inning Saturday, flipping a rough start into an easy 14-2 victory by taking advantage of a small opportunity at Baylor Ballpark.

It all came with two outs.

“This tells you something about our team,” said Bradley Suttle, whose 11-pitch at bat in the third inning keyed the rally. “We had a few good at-bats. Then we got a couple of hits. Our team can hit. Then we relaxed a little bit and let loose.”

With two outs in the third, Chance Wheeless singled, Jordan Danks walked and so did Suttle, who fought off a bunch of pitches and escaped a couple of close calls that went Texas’ way.

Then the rally began.

Kyle Russell worked the count to 3-2 before singling up the middle to tie the game at 2. Russell Moldenhauer doubled just inside the first-base line, scoring Suttle. Josh Prince followed with a two-run double. Preston Clark walked. Nick Peoples and Travis Tucker each followed with RBI singles.

“The at-bats right through there were spectacular,” Texas coach Augie Garrido said. “The walks. Bradley turned his at-bat around. (Kyle) Russell working the count full and waiting for his pitch to hit. It was the best hitting.”

The Horns (18-7, 2-0 Big 12) poured it on in the next inning, scoring four more runs as Suttle, who hit two right-handed home runs, and Kyle Russell hit back-to-back homers.

“I’ve been struggling right-handed,” Suttle said. “I haven’t been getting as many right-handed at-bats. But I worked on it a little extra today and earlier this week. I guess it paid off.”

It was Russell’s 11th home run of the season. Baylor (12-9, 0-2) has 10 home runs this year.

The 14 runs were the most Baylor had allowed at home since 1998 and the 12-run loss was the Bears’ worst in the nine-year history of Baylor Ballpark.

The sizeable gap was made possible by Texas right-hander Adrian Alaniz, who fought off a shaky start that led to two first-inning runs and went seven strong innings to improve to 6-1.

Alaniz’ calming down after the first inning, and Baylor starter Kendal Volz’ losing control in the third was the difference.

“The difference in experience really showed,” Baylor coach Steve Smith said. “We had a young pitcher on the mound, and he was able to get to two strikes a couple of times in the third inning, but then he made some mistakes. On the other hand, Alaniz struggled early but turned it around.”

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Baylor Recap

Garrido earns career victory No. 1,600 in Texas’ 3-2 win over Baylor!

Four Longhorns’ pitchers combined to allow just four hits as No. 10 Texas posted a 3-2 victory over Baylor in Big 12 Conference baseball action Friday afternoon at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

The triumph marked win No. 1,600 for UT head coach Augie Garrido as he became the first Division I coach to ever reach the mark. He is also only one of two collegiate coaches on any level to reach the milestone joining Gordie Gillespie who has won over 1,700 games at Lewis, Ripon and St. Francis (Ill.).

James Russell (4-2) yielded just two unearned runs on four hits and two walks while striking out four Bears over 6.2 innings to earn the win. Pat McCrory, Keith Shinaberry and Randy Boone combined to pitch 2.1 innings of perfect relief with four strikeouts. McCrory retired the only batter he faced and Shinaberry and Boone had identical lines striking out two each over their hitless innings. Boone picked up his fifth save of the season.

The Bears pounced on the Longhorns with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Ben Booker reached base on a throwing error by UT shortstop Josh Prince to start out the inning. A single by Beamer Weems, who advanced to second base on the throw, put runners at second and third. Aaron Miller plated Booker with a groundout to second base and Tim Jackson drove in Weems with a sacrifice fly, staking the Bears to a 2-0 lead.

Russell hit his 10th home run of the season over the rightfield fence in the fourth inning to shave the Baylor lead to 2-1.

Texas took the lead in the fifth inning. With one out, Travis Tucker reached on an infield single and moved to third on a mishandled pickoff attempt. Chance Wheeless hit a sacrifice fly to score Tucker with the tying run. Jordan Danks followed with a solo home run down the rightfield line to put the Longhorns ahead 3-2.

Baylor was threatening to score in the seventh inning as Jeff Russell was cruising on the mound before issuing a two-out walk to Chase Gerdes and a double to Matt Sodolak, but McCrory entered the game and retired Raynor Campbell with a groundout to get out of the jam.

Jeff Mandell (2-4) was saddled with the loss for Baylor. He allowed three runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out three Longhorns over 6.1 innings.

Wheeless and Russell Moldenhauer had two hits apiece for Texas.

The series moves to Waco for game two on Saturday. First pitch at Baylor Ballpark is slated for 6:30 p.m.

Texas Recap
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Baylor Recap

Texas pitching, defense strong in 7-1 Victory!

Hello pitching. Hello defense.

You’re exactly what Texas wanted to see in its final tuneup before Big 12 play opens Friday against Baylor.

Like Kyle Walker coming back after a month-plus layoff to pitch three innings of one-run baseball. Or Pat McCrory needing just 10 pitches to get through two innings. Or left-handed reliever Keith Shinaberry completing another successful outing from the bullpen.

Texas pitchers showed during Wednesday night’s 7-1 win over Winthrop that Augie Garrido has options in the bullpen.

“Our pitching is really starting to find its way into a pitching staff,” Garrido said after watching five pitchers combine on the three-hitter.

It helps that McCrory and Shinaberry have each had two straight successful outings.

“They’re certainly going to be used on the weekends,” Garrido said after each pitched two scoreless innings.

But seeing Walker on the mound was Wednesday’s biggest bonus.

Walker, who experienced control problems early in the season and hadn’t pitched since Feb. 10, switched to pitching from the stretch and slowed down his motion.

He gave up one run, two hits and two walks in 42 pitches.

“I’m feeling good about it,” Walker said. “I’m just trying to do what I can for the team. I’m going to pitch my butt off if I’m out there. If I’m not out there I’m going to cheer my butt off.”

Garrido said Walker (1-0) is going to get a couple more weekday starts before putting him back in the weekend rotation.

No matter who was on the mound for the Longhorns (16-7), they had good defense behind them.

Nick Peoples made a key play in the third inning when Winthrop had the bases loaded and one out. Peoples slipped and fell while Bryn Henderson’s deep fly ball was in the air. He then got up and made the catch, preventing what could have turned into a three-run double.

“I wanted to get behind the ball, because I didn’t want the guy to get from second base to third,” Peoples said. “I guess I just took a drop step and slipped because it was wet. But I knew where the ball was going, so I knew if I got up in time I’d have a chance to catch it.”

The Horns also got nice defensive plays from right fielder Kyle Russell, who made an over-the-head catch at the wall, and shortstop Josh Prince, who scooped up a ball over second base and made a nice throw.

“We’ve played pretty good defense from the beginning,” Garrido said. “From day one we’ve been able to walk on the field and pick the ball up and throw it. (Josh) Prince makes us even better when he’s at shortstop.”

UT took control with three runs in the first inning — two on Russell Moldenhauer’s bases-loaded single — and three in the fifth, with two coming on Bradley Suttle’s home run.

Texas Recap

Winthrop Recap

Texas takes series from Miami with rain-shortened win

Joseph Krebs is happy.

It’s not just how he’s throwing the ball.

It’s not just his consistency.

Krebs, the Texas Longhorns’ best relief pitcher throughout the season, is comfortable with the way everything is going right now.

He proved that again Sunday as he came on in relief to pitch 2 1/3 innings and help the Longhorns beat Miami University 10-4 in a five-inning, rain-shortened game at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. Texas won the final two games of the series after dropping the opener Friday.

The Redhawks (3-6) were mounting a comeback in the third inning, trailing 6-3 with one out and runners on second and third when Krebs (3-0) entered. He got Jeff Carroll to ground out to third, which scored a run to make it 6-4, and induced Chris Niro into another groundout to end the threat.

Krebs is happy in the long-relief role, but his lights-out dominance has coach Augie Garrido thinking about switching Krebs’ role.

“Coach (Skip) Johnson and myself are going to have to talk to see if we’re getting the right number of innings out of him,” Garrido said. “We might need to move him into a starting role. With Keith Shinaberry’s performance and Pat McCrory’s performance and Randy Boone, Krebs might be able to take that third starter role and run with it.”

While Krebs’ role might be changing, the Longhorns’ lineup might be set. Texas (15-7) pounded out 14 hits in four-plus innings at the plate, putting together a six-run second inning to take control.

Travis Tucker was 3 for 3 with four RBIs and Nick Peoples, who was moved to the nine spot, went 3 for 3 with three RBIs. The addition of DH Russell Moldenhauer and shortstop Josh Prince, who went 5 for 5 during Saturday’s victory, has made the Horns’ lineup extremely dangerous heading into Big 12 play.

“You have an opportunity to get a rally going, keep a rally going from beginning to end,” Garrido said.

After a Wednesday matchup against Winthrop, the Longhorns open Big 12 play against Baylor on Friday.

Garrido is just two wins away from 1,600 for his career, and chances are he will reach the milestone against Baylor, one of Texas’ biggest rivals.

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Miami (OH) Recap

Adrian Alaniz pitches a gem

He pulled out the memory Friday night, as he often does to pump himself up and get ready for a start.

Texas pitcher Adrian Alaniz took out the DVD of his best performance as a Longhorn and sat down to view the masterpiece.

“I watched the final two innings of my no-hitter against Oklahoma,” Alaniz said Saturday.

Now he’s got another tape to watch.

Alaniz didn’t throw a no-hitter Saturday, but his complete-game two-hitter against Miami of Ohio keyed the Horns’ 10-0 victory at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

“It’s kind of funny that I pulled that one out,” Alaniz said of his 2005 performance against Oklahoma. “The performances were really similar. I was just getting ahead of the hitters and throwing all my pitches for strikes. I really didn’t do anything different than I did in any of my other outings.”

It was the way Alaniz threw the ball, with confidence, with control, and for a strike whenever he wanted. It was effortless.

“He threw really good today,” Texas pitching coach Skip Johnson said. “I was really proud how he stayed with the process through the whole game. He got his rhythm set early with his fastball, breaking ball and changeup.”

Alaniz (5-1) kept Miami (3-5) frustrated all day, changing speeds and mixing pitches effectively to match his pinpoint control. He allowed just four baserunners and at one point retired 15 consecutive batters, a streak that was ended by Josh Prince’s throwing error.

The Longhorns (14-7) manufactured two runs in the first and second inning to take a 4-0 lead. They left putting the game away to Kyle Russell.

Russell, who’s having an All-America season, hit his ninth home run of the year and third of the series, turning on a two-out, two-strike pitch in the fourth inning for a three-run shot.

“I just closed my eyes and swung,” joked Russell, whose four-RBI day tied a career high and brought his season total to 25. “I’m seeing the ball well, that’s the only thing I can say. I don’t swing as hard when I hit the home runs. My problem last year was I swung too hard. This year I’m catching myself before I do that.”

While the Horns seemed to be batting forever, Alaniz worked through the Redhawks’ lineup quickly. He needed just 104 pitches to finish the game.

Singles by Jeff Carroll and Jordan Petraitis, a hit batsman and the error were the only blemishes for Alaniz.

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Miami (OH) Recap

Texas loses to Miami of Ohio

No matter what he did, John Ely couldn’t get Kyle Russell out. Russell hit two home runs and a single off Ely, a right-handed starter for Miami University of Ohio.

The problem for the Texas Longhorns was Ely dominated the rest of them with ease.

With his fastball. With his changeup. With his curveball.

Everything Ely threw to the plate seemed to be the perfect pitch as Miami defeated Texas 6-2 on Friday during the first night game at the partially renovated UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

“It feels good to do this against a team like Texas,” Ely said. “I just tried to keep my pitches down, attack the strike zone and get ahead of the count.”

That’s exactly what Ely did, which is why it took him 135 pitches to get through the entire game. He gave up just seven hits.

“The story is more about what they were able to do instead of what we weren’t able to do,” Texas coach Augie Garrido said. “To take anything away from (Ely) would be unprofessional. It was his night.”

The Redhawks jumped on Texas starter James Russell (3-2), scoring two runs in the first and second innings for a 4-0 lead.

“I had a little trouble with location, and the good pitches I made, they put in play,” said Russell, who gave up six runs (five earned) and 10 hits in five-plus innings.

Once the Redhawks (3-4) jumped ahead, the Longhorns (13-7) couldn’t touch Ely.

The Horns loaded the bases in the second inning with two outs, but Travis Tucker’s hard-hit ground ball found the glove of Miami third baseman Jordan Petraitis, who ended the inning with a force at second.

“That was a play of great reflexes,” Garrido said. “If that’s a hit, the momentum changes right there. But he makes that play, and they keep the momentum.”

There were bright spots for Texas. Kyle Russell continued to pound the ball, going 3 for 4, including the solo shots in the sixth and eighth innings. He has eight home runs and 21 RBIs in just 20 games.

Last year Russell started strong before tailing off and finishing with 10 homers and 42 RBIs.

“I’m just sitting here, relaxing, seeing the ball and hitting the ball,” he said. “I’ve experienced tailing off, and I think this year I’m more mature.”

The other bright spot was reliever Keith Shinaberry, who pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up just one walk.

Texas will face Miami again at 2 p.m. today, sending right-hander Adrian Alaniz to the mound to face Connor Graham.

Texas Recap
Austin-American Statesman Recap
Miami (OH) Recap

Texas holds off late Islanders rally in 10-6 win!

Paced by a career-high five RBI from Travis Tucker and four hits by Preston Clark, the University of Texas posted a 10-6 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in collegiate baseball action Tuesday afternoon at Whataburger Field.

Tucker went 3-for-5 with one run, a stolen base and five RBI. Clark went 4-for-5 with three runs. The offensive attack was supplemented by Bradley Suttle and Kyle Russell who each went 2-for-5.

Texas jumped out to a 3-0 lead with one run each in the first, second and third innings.

In the first inning, Tucker led off with a single and moved to second as Corpus Christi’s leftfielder misplayed the hit. A groundout by Chance Wheeless moved Tucker to third and he scored on a groundout by Jordan Danks.

With two outs in the second inning, Clark singled up the middle and Todd Gilfillan doubled down the leftfield line putting runners at second and third. Clark scored as a grounder by Josh Prince was mishandled by the Islanders’ shortstop.

Wheeless led off the third inning with a triple and scored on a groundout to second base by Danks, staking the Longhorns to a 3-0 lead.

The Islanders knotted the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, Chase Williams singled to right field. Martin Parra put runners at the corners with a single down the rightfield line and Trae Williams drew a walk to load the bases. Chase Wheaton singled to drive in Chase Williams and Bryan Gerondale drew a walk plating a Parra and Jason Graham tied the score with a fielder’s choice grounder which pushed Trae Williams across.

Texas reclaimed the lead with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth. Clark hit a leadoff single and a throwing error by Corpus Christi’s catcher on a grounder by Prince put runners at second and third. Tucker hit a single up the middle to drive in Clark and Prince giving the Longhorns a 5-3 advantage.

An RBI single by Suttle in the sixth inning inflated the cushion to 6-3 for UT.

The Texas lead ballooned to 9-3 with two runs in the seventh on a single by Tucker to centerfield which plated Clark and Kyle Lusson and an RBI double by Suttle in the eighth which plated Danks.

The Islanders posted another three-run rally in the bottom of the eighth. The surge featured an RBI single by Josh Plumaj and a two run single by David Williams, cutting the UT lead to 9-6.

Texas tacked on its final run in the top of the ninth as Tucker hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to drive in pinch-runner Michael Demperio.

Pat McCrory (1-0) picked up his first career win. The sophomore pitched 3.2 scoreless innings, scattering two hits and one walk while striking out four. Randy Boone finished the game with two scoreless innings one two hits and one strikeout.

Emerson Trager (3-2) was saddled with the loss for the Islanders. He yielded five runs, two earned, on eight hits and two walks while striking out four Horns over five innings.

Texas returns to action on Friday with the Longhorns hosting Miami University of Ohio in the first of a three-game series at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. First pitch is slated for 6:05 p.m.

Texas Recap

Austin-American Statesman Article
Islander Recap