Texas Longhorns baseball (21-12, 5-5 Big 12) earned arguably its best win of the David Pierce era on Friday night, defeating No.16/No.9 Oklahoma 5-3.
The Longhorns’ ability to capitalize on Sooner errors was perhaps the difference in the game, along with a masterful performance from Nolan Kingham on the mound.
Texas got the scoring rolling in the first inning with wild, wonderful catastrophe that only college baseball can provide. With runners on first and second and one out, Kacy Clemens hit a grounder back to the pitcher that looked like a sure double play to end the inning. However, the Oklahoma pitcher missed his throw to second. Tate Shaw rounded third base, but was caught in no man’s land and got into a pickle. He ultimately slid into home with the ball popping out of the Oklahoma player’s glove on the tag to make the score 1-0 ‘Horns.
The BON Twitter described it best:
Horns lead early on some bad defense, bad baserunning and then more bad defense. 1-0 Texas Bot 1.— Burnt Orange Nation (@BON_SBNation) April 8, 2017
Brett Boswell hit a sac fly later in the inning to bring Texas’ lead to 2-0 in the first. In the third inning, the Longhorns would extend their lead with a Michael Cantu sac fly and an Austin Todd single to make the score 4-0.
Ace Texas pitcher Nolan Kingham handled the big cushion expertly. He allowed an RBI single in the fourth to make it 4-1, but otherwise evaded trouble in the early going.
Texas got the run back with a David Hamilton sac fly in the seventh, but that would be the last the team scored.
Oklahoma narrowed the gap in the eighth after a leadoff homer by star hitter Steele Walker, who owns an excellent baseball name. Kingham was pulled after allowing a single directly after the homer. The sophomore’s final line: two runs, six hits, four walks, and five strikeouts in seven innings. It wasn’t necessarily Kingham’s most dominant outing of the year, but he did a great job of handling the ‘Horns’ early lead.
With the lead at 5-2, reliable reliever Beau Ridgeway came on to get the last six outs. Texas fans collectively held their breaths when Ridgeway began the ninth by allowing a solo shot to Renae Martinez.
Ridgeway would get the next out, but then allowed a single to bring the tying run to the plate with one out. The next Oklahoma hitter very nearly smacked a tying home with a shot to left, but the ball went just foul. Ridgeway would go on to strike out the hitter and then record a pop out to shortstop to end the game.
The Longhorns meet up with the Sooners again Saturday at 4 pm CST. The ‘Horns will achieve an above .500 record and some serious confidence if they can beat Oklahoma again tomorrow.