The Texas Longhorns have a real habit of ending up in lengthy extra-inning games, and they found themselves in another one Friday night against the Kansas Jayhawks. After some recent disappointments in extra innings against the likes of Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, Texas took home a 3-2 win on this night.
The eventual winning run came home in the 14th when Ben Johnson beat out a slow roller to shortstop with two outs, scoring a run from third.
Pitching was the name of the game in this one, and at least when it comes to Texas, that was no surprise. Parker French has been very consistent all season and he was outstanding again on Friday night (6 IP, 4 H, 1 R). The bullpen is a real strength of their team as well, and they got eight shutout innings of work from that group, including 2.2 and 3.1 from Kirby Bellow and Ty Marlow, respectively.
What was more surprising was that Kansas largely matched them. Starter Ben Krauth threw nine innings, giving up two runs on five hits with three walks and nine strikeouts. Ace reliever Stephen Villines followed that up with his longest outing of the season. He threw five innings, giving up six hits and one run with two walks and eight strikeouts. In the last couple of innings, he really appeared to be running on fumes, but no one can blame him given that he finished with 91 pitches. One has to assume that he is done for the weekend, and that’s a shame for Kansas because he has been such a weapon out of the bullpen.
The two biggest days on offense for the Longhorns came from C.J. Hinojosa (3-for-7, 2 RBI) and Zane Gurwitz (3-for-6), and that has to be a sight for sore eyes, as those are two of the hitters who have struggled most this season. Getting that pair going would be huge as Texas tries to dig its way out of the hole they’re currently in when it comes to postseason positioning.
Kansas State Continues String of Upsets, Downs Texas Tech
The Wildcats continue to be upset-minded. After winning a series with TCU last weekend, they began their series against Texas Tech on Friday night with a 5-3 win.
K-State managed just four hits on the night, but control issues for Tech starter Ryan Moseley helped them out. In five innings of work, Moseley walked six and hit another, which played a big role in his allowing four earned runs during his time in the game.
The Wildcats didn’t get much from their starter, either. Colton Kalmus lasted just four innings, giving up three hits and three runs (two earned). He, too, was in a giving mood, as he walked three and hit a batter. The bullpen bailed him out, however, as Brandon Erickson, Bryce Ward, and Corey Fischer combined to throw five innings, giving up three hits and no runs.
Offensively for K-State, Taylor Anderson went 2-for-4 with two RBI. Tyler Wolfe was officially just 0-for-1, but he drew three walks.
For Texas Tech, all three of their runs scored on a Stephen Smith three-run homer in the third. It was his seventh homer of the season.
Watch out for the Wildcats if they can capture this series. Even with their mediocre record overall and in Big 12 play, they are in pretty decent shape RPI-wise. Before this game, they were 58 in the most recent update, which puts them at least on the periphery of the at-large conversation. If they finish strong, they could really get right into the middle of the discussion.
There is a power vacuum in the Big 12 behind TCU and Oklahoma State, and maybe Kansas State will step up and take advantage.
Oklahoma Shuts Out West Virginia
The Sooners allowed the Mountaineers just two total hits in their 2-0 win on Friday night. Starting pitcher Jake Elliott (7.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K) led the way, and the relief duo of Ralph Garza, Jr. and Jacob Evans combined to throw 1.2 hitless innings to close it out. Evans notched his fifth save of the season after striking out the side in the ninth.
The West Virginia pitching was nearly as good. Starting pitcher B.J. Myers threw 7.2 innings, giving up five hits and two runs with four walks and ten strikeouts. His undoing was a two-run homer in the eighth inning by OU’s Kolbey Carpenter that proved to be the difference.
TCU and Santa Clara Washed Out
The series opener of a non-conference set between TCU and Santa Clara was postponed on Friday night due to rain. To make up for it, the teams are scheduled to play a doubleheader on Saturday.