Texas Longhorns baseball (24-15, 7-8 Big 12) salvaged a game and perhaps its season after winning 5-3 in a 10th inning thriller at Baylor (22-14, 5-7) on Sunday. The ‘Horns dropped the series’ first two games in Waco 6-2 and 4-3.
Texas jumped out to a 3-0 lead after a first inning Travis Jones RBI single and Michael McCann sac fly in the first inning, followed by a Michael Cantu solo shot in the second.
Starter Kyle Johnston turned in a great performance, but Baylor clawed back. The Bears scored a run on an RBI groundout in the fifth to make the score 3-1.
With a pitch count approaching triple digits, Johnston faced some trouble in the seventh. The righty allowed a bloop single and a walk to start the inning. Baylor then attempted a sac bunt, but Johnston threw a wild pitch to advance runners to second and third with no outs.
David Pierce then attempted to switch pitchers, but the ump did not allow it. Coaches are only allowed one mound visit per batter and Pierce had already gone out to Johnston earlier in the at-bat.
Johnston battled through, but allowed a RBI ground-out to make the score 3-2.
Chase Shugart then took the mound with one out and a runner on third. Shugart expertly navigated the Bears hitters, and put away two straight batters without allowing a sacrifice opportunity.
After Shugart again didn’t allow any damage in the eighth, Nick Kennedy attempted to close the game out in the ninth. With one out, the sophomore allowed a double to the gap. The runner advanced to third on a groundout to short.
With two outs, two strikes, and a runner on third in the ninth, Kennedy allowed Baylor to slap a single to right on a ball out of the zone. Though the runner was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double, the runner from third scored, making the score tied at three.
The Longhorns appeared out of it in the top of the 10th, getting a quick first two outs. However, Travis Jones worked a full count walk and then Kacy Clemens stepped to the plate. The senior smashed a two run homer on a beauty of a hit to reclaim the lead for Texas, 5-3.
Beau Ridgeway closed the game in a 1-2-3 inning to give the ‘Horns the victory.
Though the game was filled with less than positive signs, such as Texas failing to score with runners on second and third and no outs in the sixth, or failing to score on a leadoff double in the eighth, there were also some brilliant moments.
For one, David Hamilton made a game saving diving grab on a grounder in the eighth and threw the runner out at first. Even when stacked against Hamilton’s highlight reel of web gems, his play in the eighth might stand out as his best out yet at Texas.
On offense, the player of the game may have been Travis Jones, who went 4-4 with two doubles and had a crucial two out walk in the 10th to allow Kacy Clemens to come the plate and homer.
Up next for Texas is a Tuesday meeting with Texas State at home, followed by a non-conference three game series at home against New Orleans. The Longhorns will need to take most, if not all of those games to be in good position for a challenging last stretch of the season.