If you'd been told that Oklahoma put up a four spot in the first inning and hit four home runs on the night, you'd probably think Texas lost Friday night. Of course, if you'd been told that Texas pounded out 17 hits and took advantage of three Sooner errors, then you'd probably think the Horns would have won on Friday. Fortunately it was the latter that came true.
Nathan Thornhill gave up a pair of two-run homers in the first inning before pitching a gem of a ballgame. Overall he went 6.1 innings giving up just one hit after the first inning and leaving the ballgame with a 5-4 lead. The Horns didn't make it easy on themselves last night, leaving the bases loaded twice (as well as hitting into one double play with the bases loaded) and having a pair of runners thrown out at home. All in all the Horns almost left as many men on base (16) as they had hits (17).
Things looked bleak after Corey Knebel gave up a game tying solo shot in the bottom of the 9th. The Sooners then loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the 11th but Hoby Milner forced a 5-2-3 double play to end the inning and a Jonathan Walsh double with two outs in the 12th gave Texas a 7-5 lead. Milner would give up a solo shot with one out in the 12th and presumptive Sunday starter Parker French would come on to get the last two outs on nine pitches.
Last night began like a normal Friday game, but the Texas comeback, OU tying shot and eventual Texas win made it feel like one of those games that could definitely be a spring board to bigger and better things. As the weather warms, the Texas offense may heat up and the young Texas pitching staff may solidify. If that happens then things may not be nearly as bad as they felt just a week ago.
The Horns go for a series win today at 2 PM. It's not on TV but there was an internet stream available; more details hopefully in the comments. Some more thoughts on last night though after the jump.
- The win puts Texas in excellent position to take a 14th straight series from Oklahoma. That's just a fun thing to type. Throw in the fact that A&M lost to Kansas State 15-12 (their fourth loss in five games) and it was a fun night for Texas baseball.
- It was interesting that Augie went to French for the final two outs on Friday. The freshman's Sunday start probably won't be effected by throwing nine pitches, but it does highlight just how badly Texas needed this win. For his part, French struck out Jack Mayfield on a filthy fastball up and in before getting a weak grounder back to the mound to end the ballgame.
- The benches cleared after Cody Reine's tying home run in the 9th, further highlighting how badly both squads wanted this game. Kudos to the umpires and coaches for both squads for quickly restoring order.
- Knebel was a tad off with his command all night, so perhaps the biggest kudos of the night should go to Jordan Etier. Knebel fell behind 2-0 to the hitter after Reine, and very easily could have lost his composure. The senior shortstop approached Knebel and whatever he said must have worked as the sophomore closer quickly got the next two outs.
- Offensively, Erich Weiss hit the first Texas home run in nearly a month and Mark Payton (4-7) and Jordan Etier (3-4) had the most consistent nights. Walsh was a goat offensively for leaving five men on base, including the double play in the 8th that would have given Texas enough insurance to avoid extra innings. The right fielder came through, however, with the RBI double down the left field line in the 12th that proved to be the game winner.
- All in all, every Longhorn got a hit on Friday. Combine Tuesday's offensive output and the Horns have raised their team batting average 23 points in the last two games. Hopefully this is a measure of things to come rather than a sad teaser, but only time will tell.