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Texas Longhorns baseball splits Stanford Cardinal series 2-2

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In a four-game home series with the Pac-12's Cardinal, the Horns split the series in games that covered nearly every possible outcome.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday: Texas 0, Stanford 1 (12 innings)

For the second time this season, the Horns started a weekend series with a one-run loss in 12 innings. This time, a pitcher's duel broke up between a pair of Stanford throwers and a host of Texas pitchers. In his first collegiate start, freshman Nolan Kingham (getting the nod over Josh Sawyer, the original projected starter, who did not appear on the weekend) got off on the right foot, pitching 4.2 innings of scoreless ball, allowing only two hits and three walks. Texas also got scoreless appearances from Travis Duke (0.1 innings), Blake Wellman (3.0 innings), and freshman stud Chase Shugart (1.2 innings).

Taking over in extras, Jon Malmin gave up the game's only run in a difficult 12th. Getting the leadoff hitter aboard, Stanford played for the sacrifice bunt that Malmin misplayed and threw wide of 1B Kaleb Denny. With runners on first and second and one down, Stanford sacrificed again to move the runners to second and third before an intentional walk loaded the bases. A near double play fell just shy of ending the Stanford threat, and the lone run would be all the Cardinal needed.

Stanford got two strong scoreless appearances from starting freshman Kris Babic (4.1 IP, 2 H, 2 BBs, 7 Ks) and sophomore reliever Colton Hock (5.2 IP, 3 H, 3 BBs, 8 Ks).

Friday: Texas 4, Stanford 3

Sophomore Kyle Johnston did his part to right the ship on Saturday. Johnston was in much greater control against Stanford following his Friday night start against UNLV, going 7 innings on 104 pitches and striking out seven while allowing four hits, two walks, and two earned runs. The sophomore allowed single runs in the 4th and 6th on his way to career highs in innings pitched and strikeouts.

The Texas bats followed Johnston's strong start by plating four runs in the third to take the early 4-0 lead, taking advantage of Stanford miscues. Following a Kacy Clemens walk and Tyler Rand hit-by-pitch, a sacrifice bunt attempt by Zane Gurwitz was thrown away by the Stanford third baseman, scoring Clemens and putting Gurwitz and Rand at second and third. Bret Boswell grounded out on an RBI, then a passed ball brought Gurwitz home from third. With nobody aboard, Joe Baker put up a double, stole third, and came home on a Tres Barrera single (his only hit of the night, batting DH).

Baker, batting third, did all he could to spark the Texas offense following the four-run third inning. Baker went 2-3 and stole four bases on the night, but the Texas offense failed to bring him across after that third. Also of note is the HBP of Rand in that third broke his hand, and he's expected to miss 4-6 weeks. That takes two starting outfielders out for Texas, with Patrick Mathis nursing a bad hamstring.

Relieving Johnston in the 8th with a 4-2 advantage, freshman Beau Ridgeway struggled, hitting a batter, walking another, and giving up a hit, allowing a run and only gaining one out. With two batters aboard and one out, freshman closer Chase Shugart made his second appearance of the weekend and put out the fire. Two groundouts ended the threat in the 8th, and an impressive 9th inning would give the freshman his first collegiate save.

Saturday: Texas 9, Stanford 0

The weekend featured significantly less drama than the opening games. Not to be outdone by the sophomore Johnston, senior Ty Culbreth was nothing short of dominant. Going a full eight innings, Culbreth struck out a career-high 12 batters without a single walk and only two hits allowed.

Kacy Clemens, available to pitch on Saturday, closed out the 9th inning, struggling a bit with command but not allowing a run.

In the 3rd, the Texas offense scored on a squeeze from Boswell following a pair of doubles from Gurwitz and Jake McKenzie. In the fourth, though, the Texas offense blew up for six runs. The Horns put up three runs and two base runners before Bret Boswell came to the plate.

Texas added two more in the 8th to reach the final score of 9-0.

Sunday:  Texas 1, Stanford 11

The Stanford offense retaliated early and late on Sunday. Sophomore Conner Mayes got roughed up in the first, with Stanford turning two walks and an infield single into a two-run RBI knock and bases-loaded balk. After the difficult first, Mayes settled in and held Stanford scoreless for the remainder of his four innings.

The rest of the Texas bullpen was not so fortunate. Travis Duke relieved Mayes for a scoreless 5th inning and Beau Ridgeway recorded the game's final two outs with scoreless work, but Stanford scattered eight runs between relievers Nick Kennedy, Blake Wellman, Jon Malmin, and Parker Joe Robinson.

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Texas record: 4-3

This week: Texas travels to San Marcos for a Tuesday match-up with Texas State, then host another four-game series with the Pac-12's Cal Bears