It was not a good day for Baylor University athletics. Amidst news that Baylor football coach Art Briles has been fired for mishandling sexual assault cases, Texas Longhorns baseball demolished the Bears 15-3 in an elimination game in the Big 12 Tournament. The game came to a mercy end after the seventh inning due to run rule.
The seventh-seeded Longhorns will need to win four more games in a row to make the NCAA Tournament. They'll make history either way -- a loss will bring Texas to tie their most losses in a single season, while a conference championship will make them the worst seed to ever win it all.
Head coach Augie Garrido sent a message before the game even started by inserting Bret Boswell into the lineup over Joe Baker. Baker made two errors in one inning in last night's debacle and was pulled before the frame even ended. Perhaps the tough love worked. Yesterday, Texas began the game focused and ended unorganized. Today, Texas started the game angry and ended focused...and still a little angry.
Like yesterday, Texas jumped out to a first-inning lead, and it was again an RBI double by Travis Jones to get it started. Kacy Clemens then knocked Jones home, and Patrick Mathis blasted a triple to make it 3-0 Longhorns. Then in the third inning, Tres Barrera launched a three run homer, and Kacy Clemens repeated the effort with a dinger of his own. I can’t even remember the last back-to-back homer on a Garrido coached team.
Baylor pitcher Drew Tolson, who gave up one run in eight innings to the Longhorns just a week ago, was chased out of the game with seven earned runs in 2.1 innings. However, Texas starting pitcher Morgan Cooper kept things in check for the Longhorns. The junior who missed last season due to Tommy John surgery allowed hits, but not severe damage. Baylor's sac fly score in the third to make it 7-1 was refreshing compared to the grand slam, etc. of last night.
Bret Boswell made the most of his starting opportunity by leading off the fifth inning with a triple. The scoreboard turned to 8-1 after Boswell came home on wild pitch. Baylor would go on to get another sac fly in the fifth, and a solo shot in the sixth to make it 8-3. The Bears chipped away, but could never snatch momentum.
Three sevens is a jackpot, and the seventh-seeded Longhorns put up seven runs in the seventh inning to open up the game. The two out rally started with a Bret Boswell walk. The runs kicked in after a Travis Jones two-run single. Tres Barrera then hit a ground rule double. It was Barrera's fifth hit in two games after only getting two hits in the previous five. Kacy Clemens poured on an RBI base hit, and the rally concluded with a three run blast by Patrick Mathis to bring the score to 15-3.
Morgan Cooper came on with a twelve-run lead and closed the game out, securing the win in the seventh inning. Texas is prone to giving up late-game leads, but you can't do that when you run rule your opponent. The mercy ending was huge because Cooper was able to go the distance without even going nine. Now, Texas still has a rested bullpen, and a replenished, confident team. If we just witnessed Augie Garrido's last win, it was a good one.
Six of nine Big 12 baseball teams remain, and Texas lives to fight another day. We'll see how the Longhorns fare tomorrow, where they will play the loser of Oklahoma State vs. TCU. The Horned Frogs would be a much better match up for Texas, as the Longhorns are 2-1 against TCU, compared to 0-4 against Oklahoma State. TCU also has less to play for than Oklahoma State. While the Cowboys are fighting to host a regional, the Horned Frogs have probably already wrapped it up.
The game tomorrow will be at 7 p.m. CT, probably again televised on some obscure FOX Sports channel that no one has. Comments below are an open thread.