The Longhorns baseball team picked up a huge sweep of Kansas this afternoon after holding off a Jayhawk rally, picking up the win 5-4.
Chase Shugart took the mound for the ‘Horns and came out throwing with confidence after a rough last couple of outings. Shugart sat the Jayhawks down 1-2-3 to start the game and by the time he would go back out for his second inning of work, he would have a nice 3 run lead to work with.
Masen Hibbeler got things started for the Longhorns as he deposited a first pitch fastball into the Kansas bullpen to leadoff the inning for his first career home run as a Longhorn. Duke Ellis worked a walk which gave Kody Clemens, who is swinging a red hot bat right now, another chance to hit with runners on base.
Clemens would once again make the most of his opportunity as he smoked another no-doubt 2-run homer to right field.
Kansas would go quietly in top half of the 2nd inning as Shugart continued to look more comfortable and locked in on the mound.
Tate Shaw reached base for the Longhorns after being hit by a pitch to leadoff the bottom of the 2nd. Jake McKenzie would move Shaw up to second after laying down a sacrifice bunt. Shaw would advance to 3rd on a wild-pitch but would go no further after a Hibbeler strikeout, Duke Ellis walk, and strikeout by Kody Clemens ended the inning.
Chase Shugart would face some adversity in the KU half of the 3rd inning as Tate Shaw lost a routine pop up in the sun, allowing the leadoff hitter to reach second base. After a groundout, followed by a 1-out walk, Kansas had their first threat of the game with runners on the corners.
Shugart would quickly take care of that however, after a perfectly executed double move picked the runner off of first, erasing the walk. 2 away. Shugart would then get a routine groundout to end the Kansas threat and end the inning without any damage done.
The game would remain 3-0 with both teams exchanging quiet innings up until the bottom of the 4th. A 1-out walk from Jake McKenzie put a runner on for Masen Hibbeler, who ripped a double down the right field line, that allowed McKenzie to advance to third before being held up. There was some question from Kansas skipper, Ritch Price, as the 1st base umpire appeared to signal “foul ball” as he threw both hands in the air as the ball squeezed down the line in right field. The call on the field was fair however and Texas was in another position to add to the lead with Kody Clemens due up after Duke Ellis worked another walk, loading the bases for the junior.
Clemens got under one, hitting it deep enough to score McKenzie on a sacrifice fly, giving the Longhorns a 4-0 lead with 2 outs in the 4th. Zubia would strikeout to end the Texas threat.
Shugart continued to cruise as he worked another 1-2-3 inning in the 5th. Great to see Shugart working with confidence and trusting his stuff. Showed great command of his pitches to this point.
Texas would give Shugart another insurance run in the 5th after Austin Todd singled up the middle, stole 2nd, and scored on a Tate Shaw RBI single making it 5-0. That 5th run would prove to be the most crucial run of the game. We just didn’t know it at the time.
The Jayhawks would pick up a run in the 6th after ex-UT commit, Jaxx Groshans doubled home a run to make it 5-1. In the bottom half, Duke Ellis would reach on a leadoff single. Ellis has shown great improvement hitting in the two hole for the Longhorns. After a strikeout by Kody Clemens, Ellis would pick up a stolen base but would be stranded there after a Zach Zubia strikout and and Austin Todd groundout.
The 7th inning is where it got dicey for the ‘Horns. A leadoff single smoked off of the foot of Shugart would get things started for Kansas. Shugart appeared to be fine after taking the sharp liner off of his foot and would remain in the game. Brett Vosik would follow with an RBI double to bring the Jayhawks within 3 with nobody out. After a pass ball moves Vosik to third, Shugart would issue a walk to put runners on the corners for Kansas.
David Pierce would then make the move to Josh Sawyer who would enter from the ‘pen and get a big strikeout from the first batter he faces giving Texas one out on the inning. Kansas would pick up another run on a fielders choice, but that would be it for the Jayhawks as Sawyer would pick up a big strikeout to end the inning.
After a 1-2-3 inning from the Texas hitters, Sawyer would come back out for the 8th.
Jaxx Groshans, who hit the ball hard all weekend, led the inning off with a double and just like that the Jayhawks were threatening again. Groshans would advance to third after a single, and Sawyer found himself in a hole with runners on the corners and nobody out, and would go on to load the bases after issuing a walk. Sawyer would then work a strike out and a fly out to get the Longhorns within an out of ending the inning.
Struggling Texas pitcher would enter the game, and proceed to hit the first batter he faced which would bring in a run for Kansas making it 5-4 in favor of the ‘Horns. Ridgeway would escape the jam by getting the next Kansas batter to fly out to Duke Ellis in center.
The Longhorns would fail to add another insurance run in the 8th but found a way to get the win after Andy McGuire entered the game for Texas and earned the save in the 5-4 victory for Texas.
The Longhorns desperately needed a strong showing this weekend against a pretty decent Kansas team and the Longhorns definitely made a statement and played great baseball all weekend. Nolan Kingham and Blair Henley put together two great outings. Great to see Kingham battle to get back on track.
A sweep is exactly what this team needed to open up conference play after starting the season with a brutal non-conference schedule.
The Longhorns played with heavy and inspired hearts this weekend after the passing of legendary former coach Augie Garrido. The Longhorns did Augie proud all series by playing small ball to perfection when it mattered most. You can only imagine that #16 was smiling down on the Disch this weekend.
The Longhorns look to keep the momentum going Tuesday night as they will go to battle with a very good Sam Houston State team, who is currently riding a 9-game winning streak.
This one was for you, Augie.