Texas scored six runs in the top of the first inning in Norman last night, largely on the strength of two-RBI doubles by Kasey Clemens and Zane Gurwitz. Parker French was the starter, as he is on all Fridays. Needless to say, things looked good; the Longhorns had handed a huge lead to a guy who normally needs only two or three runs to bring home the W. Unfortunately, it wouldn't end up being as easy as it looked like it would be at that moment.
Oklahoma tied it up with a six-run frame of its own, in the bottom of the third. But it should have been a one-run inning that left Texas up by five. With one away and one run in, shortstop CJ Hinojosa committed the second of Texas' four errors on the evening. Had he made the play, it would likely have been an inning-ending double play. He didn't, a run scored on the play, and the Sooners then put together some big base hits to take advantage of the opportunity afforded them.
Another error-aided two-spot in the fifth, and OU had an 8-6 lead in a game that looked for all the world like it would be a massively damaging loss for Texas. Blowing a 6-0 lead on the road in a conference game with one of the country's best pitchers on the hill would have been brutal, particularly on the heels of a lackluster performance against Rice.
But this team continues to reassure us that, no, they are not the 2013 Longhorns and, yes, they have the physical ability and mental toughness to overcome tight situations. Ben Johnson cut the deficit in half with an RBI double in the top of the seventh, and Tres Barrera plated Johnson with a single to tie it back up at 8.
No more runs would be scored in regulation, but Texas needed only one extra inning to seal the deal. Hinojosa made up for his earlier error by mashing his first homerun of the year to lead off the top of the tenth. Madison Carter, not letting the dinger be a rally-killer, took the next pitch up the middle for a single. A Clemens walk and a Gurwitz single loaded the bases with none out. Brooks Marlow drew another walk to score an insurance run, and then a pair of strikeouts and a weird play at the plate ended the inning.
The two-run lead was enough for closer Jon Curtiss, who spotted the Sooners a leadoff walk but then mowed them down to earn the save. Today's game is not on TV and starts at 4:00. Dillon Peters is on the hill for Texas against OU lefty Adam Choplick. The Horns' first-inning outburst forced Oklahoma to go to the bullpen early last night, including getting 26 pitches from their most reliable reliever, Ralph Garza, Jr. Choplick will need to be sharp, or the OU bullpen will be at risk of collapse.
This is your open thread. Hook 'em!