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Texas avoids sweep in regular season finale against Baylor

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Limping into the Big 12 tournament, the Longhorns managed a game three victory to avoid yet another sweep in Big 12 conference play.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday: Texas 1, Baylor 2

In what is increasingly looking like head coach Augie Garrido's last season in Austin, the Texas offense wasted yet another strong pitching effort. Baylor's only two runs in the Thursday opener came in the 5th off starter Morgan Cooper. To open the inning, Cooper hit the leadoff batter. Baylor followed with a sacrifice to advance the runner, but an error put two aboard with nobody out. A successful sacrifice followed to put both runners in scoring position, who both scored on an RBI-groundout and single.

With the offense struggling to provide run support, the margin for error on defense has been small. But the Horns would threaten in the 6th. A Jake McKenzie double gave Texas a base runner, a Travis Jones single put McKenzie to third, and a hard liner by Tres Barrera put McKenzie across. It would be the only run the offense managed.

Friday: Texas 1, Baylor 3

Looking to save arms for the Big 12 tournament, Skip Johnson and Garrido tweaked the game two lineup. Ty Culbreth, the usual second starter, and Kyle Johnston, the other weekend staple, combined for six strong innings. Through six, Baylor only managed four hits and three walks compared to six strikeouts.

The combined efforts of Culbreth and Johnston were enough to give the Horns a 1-0 advantage. In the 3rd, Texas scrapped across a run. Joe Baker, who reached on a walk, was put across with two outs by a Kacy Clemens RBI.

However, with Eric Dunbar relieving Johnston, Baylor promptly put two base runners aboard. The Baylor catcher followed with a double to score two. Travis Duke then took over and have up another single to push the Bears to an insurmountable 3-1 lead, giving Baylor the series win.

Earlier in the day, however, a Kansas loss solidified Texas as at least an 8th place finisher in the conference, qualifying the Horns for the Big 12 tournament in Oklahoma.

Saturday: Texas 7, Baylor 6

With the Horns looking to send seniors Culbreth, Duke, and bullpen catcher James Barton out on a high note, the offense came alive. Sparked by Zane Gurwitz's 4-for-4 and an RBI, Michael Cantu's 3-for-4 and an RBI, and Kody Clemens 3-for-4, the Horns offense put up seven runs on 13 hits on the day. They struck for two in the 1st, two in the 4th, and three in the 7th.

Connor Mayes and Nolan Kingham did their best to make sure the offensive effort was enough. They combined for 7 and a third innings, allowing seven hits and five runs (two earned). Kingham actually gave up the lead in a three run inning for Baylor in the 7th, falling behind 5-4. But in the bottom half of the inning, Gurwitz led off with a hit and Travis Jones reached on a bunt. A passed ball moved the runners over and Barrera tied the game with a sac fly. Cantu, Kody Clemens, and Bret Boswell all knocked singles to put Texas back ahead 7-5.

Chase Shugart closed out the game after allowing a solo home run.

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Texas final regular season record: 22-30 (10-14 in Big 12, 7th place)

This week: open at Big 12 tournament against #2 seed Oklahoma State