Texas took care of business Saturday afternoon when they pummeled Kansas State 12-5 in Manhattan. On a day where most sports fans were tuned into the third round of the Masters, the Longhorn baseball team supplied long drives of their own. Texas uncharacteristically had three solo shots, including back-to-back blasts in the third inning from Kody Clemens and Travis Jones. Though the wind may have helped the ball carry, Kansas State’s Tointon Family Stadium is by no means shallow, extending to 400 feet in center field.
It’s been a year of unexpected leadership. No one would have predicted that both Clemens brothers would be tied with Tres Barrera in home runs (with three), and that Patrick Mathis would lead the team in that category (with five).
In addition, no one expected Ty Culbreth to be perhaps the team’s most reliable pitcher. Culbreth is now 6-2 on the year after notching the win on his 22nd birthday, and has provided senior leadership to a team scarce on seniors. In his seven innings pitched, Culbreth retired the side in order four times. It seemed like Culbreth would never fall back to earth until the sixth inning, when he surrendered three runs on four hits. However, he had enough of a cushion to work with that it never truly felt like the win was in doubt.
It was Zane Gurwitz who provided most of the stuffing for that cushion. He hit a double in the fourth inning and later scored to make it 4-0, and then hit an RBI single two innings later to bring the score to 5-0. He also got Culbreth out of his sixth-inning jam by turning a difficult double play. Gurwitz wasn’t done there. In the seventh inning, he cleared the loaded bases with a two out triple.
With the win, Texas moves to 14-17 on the season and 5-3 in the conference. Kansas State is 0-8 in conference play, so saying the team has turned the corner is a bit optimistic. However, the ‘Horns will have the chance to sweep an opponent for the first time this season. It’s not quite Jordan Spieth possibly winning the Masters two years in a row, but it’s an accomplishment.
Texas' Kyle Johnston (1-1, 3.12 ERA) will face off against Kansas State's Corey Fischer (1-3, 6.17 ERA) tomorrow at 1 p.m. CT. You can listen to the call on 104.9 FM The Horn or watch on WatchESPN/ESPN3. Open thread in the comments.