Florida State scored 12 runs in the 7th and 8th innings on Sunday to overcome an early 10-3 Virginia Tech lead. The Noles outscored the Hokies by a count of 33-23 on Saturday and Sunday in taking the series. By comparison, the Texas Longhorns baseball team scored eight runs over three games this weekend yet won two games nonetheless by using superior pitching to hold Texas Tech to just four runs. Both Texas and FSU got two wins over inferior conference teams, but our gut tells us that the way Texas is winning is far superior for Omaha success than the way Florida State is winning.
On Sunday, it was Brandon Loy redeeming himself for Saturday's 0-5 at the plate. The Horns entered the bottom of the 8th trailing 1-0 and a repeat of the Saturday's disappointment seemed increasingly likely. Paul Montalbano singled to begin the inning, and Loy stepped to the plate following a sac bunt and walk. In the game's biggest at bat, Loy singled to right field to plate Montalbano and tie the score. Two batters later Tant Shepherd tripled to give Texas a 3-1 cushion, and Corey Knebel picked up the save.
Speaking of Knebel, the freshman now has 11 saves on the season. The Cannibal is just three saves away from tying Huston Street's freshman save record that he set in 2003. Thinking bigger, Knebel needs just eight more saves to tie Charlie Thames and J. Brent Cox's team record of 19 saves. If Knebel has 11 saves through 36 games then he's averaging roughly .31 saves per game (or a save roughly every three games). Should the Horns play 63 games as they did last year, that would give Knebel another 8.25 saves, or 19.25 for the season. Throw in the fact that he really only began in the closer role in game nine against Stanford, and Knebel has really accumulated those 11 saves in only 27 games. Assuming another 27 games (to hit 63), then Knebel is on pace to shatter the Texas save record. In other words, the freshman has been amazing.
Texas returns to action on Tuesday against UTPA before traveling to Lawrence to take on Kansas. The Horns have struggled mightily in Lawrence, winning only one of the last three series (2007) and a 3-6 record over that span. The Aggies and Horns are tied atop the Big XII and an OU meltdown on Sunday against Okie State allowed the Cowboys to stay just one game back. The Ags and OSU play next weekend in College Station, so a strong weekend in Lawrence could give Texas a chance to gain ground on whoever loses that series.