Behind one powerful offensive explosion, another small-ball offensive explosion, and several nice pitching performances Texas took the Friday and Sunday games against Oklahoma State in Stillwater this weekend. On Saturday, Cowboy starter Tyler Blandford was masterful in going 7.1 innings to get OSU an easy 7-1 victory.
You can click through to Texas Sports to see exactly how it all happened. A few notes on the series and its implications:
- Team Toughness: Okie State is a top-25 team, so to get a series win on the road is absolutely huge. This is also the second week in a row wherein Texas has faced a rubber game on Sunday and emerged victorious. The ability to win with their backs against the wall and to win in a hostile environment both speak to the character and toughness of the ballclub as a whole, and should benefit them in the postseason.
- Offense: Friday and Sunday showed that the Longhorns' offense does, in fact, have another setting besides "anemic." Connor Rowe blasted two homeruns on Friday, and the team put together 13 hits on Sunday--all singles, but anytime you have double digits in the "H" column it's a pretty good day at the plate. Sunday was also marked by two big innings on the Longhorns' end--a four-run fourth to take the lead and a three-run seventh to secure it. As far as Saturday goes, good pitching usually beats good hitting and Blandford had his best stuff.
- Starting Pitching: Chance Ruffin continues to be extremely reliable and effective, with a great performance on Friday that helped Texas to cruise. Both Brandon Workman and Cole Green had disturbingly short outings this weekend. Workman looked great through three innings until a three-run Cowboy half of the fourth chased him. Green gave up a three-spot in the bottom of the first, and Andrew McKirahan had to come in and get him out of trouble in the third. It was an off-weekend for both guys, who have each been terrific thus far on the year and hopefully will recover with good performances in Lincoln.
- Bullpen: Austin Wood is a machine. He has filled the role of closer at an incredibly high level all year, but Sunday he reached another dimesnion. Not only did he throw more than half the game--the final 4.2 innings--but in the 8th and 9th innings, six Cowboys batted and all six struck out. Most closers are not very useful more than one time through the order. Wood got all six K's against guys he was facing for the second time in the game. That's crazy. The other major story from the 'pen is the continuing development of freshman Taylor Jungmann. In the postseason, you need four top-flight starters as opposed to three during the regular season; here's hoping Augie makes sure Jungmann gets at least a few more meaningful (read: conference or Rice) starts before the Big XII tournament.
- Big XII Standings: The series left Texas at 5th place in the conference, which doesn't sound great; however, at 6-6 (including the 3-loss debacle at Kansas), the 'Horns are actually only one game behind second place Baylor and A&M.
Next up, TCU comes to Austin tomorrow night and Texas travels to Lincoln for a Thursday-Saturday Easter Weekend series against Nebraska.