Despite going down early in the game, the Texas Longhorns (17-12, 6-3 Big 12) had a big inning in the fifth to rally past the Kansas State Wildcats (15-13, 2-4 Big 12), 9-5, to avoid being swept.
Things were looking positive from the beginning as Texas — for the first time this series, was able to score first. So far this season, this team’s chances of winning games improves dramatically if they are the first to score in ballgames.
Ryan Reynolds got the ‘Horns on the scoreboard after an RBI singled to left field that scored Tate Shaw to give Texas a 1-0 lead.
Chase Shugart got the start on the mound for the ‘Horns and was efficient in his first appearance this game issuing three groundouts to the first three batters. In a series that saw the Wildcats jump all over the Longhorns pitching staff early in games, this proved to be important.
K-State evened out the score in the bottom of the second with a Drew Mount solo home run to left field. However, Texas took the lead right back in the top of the third 2-1. With the bases loaded, Andy McGuire — who has made a name for himself in this series, got hit by a pitch, resulting in an unearned RBI.
In the bottom of the third, K-State opened things up as they put up a four-spot on Chase Shugart to take back the lead, 5-2. It was gut check time as Texas was headed down for their first sweep of the season.
Texas responded, though.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Longhorns put up another offensive showing like they had in Friday’s ninth inning. With one out, and the bases loaded with Longhorns, Andy McGuire smashed a two-RBI double to right-center field to cut the Wildcat lead to 5-4. The big hit gave McGuire his third straight three-RBI game.
After a David Hamilton walk that loaded the bases once again, pinch hitter Joe Baker singled to left to tie the ballgame, 5-5. Jake McKenzie and Tate Shaw both drew back-to-back walks to force in runs and put Texas in the lead at 7-5.
The Longhorns still weren’t done, as Masen Hibbeler got in the action himself with an RBI single through the left side to make it 8-5. Subsequently, Kody Clemens made it 9-5 in favor of the Longhorns after an RBI groundout.
It was smooth sailing for Chase Shugart and the rest of the Texas pitching staff as they only allowed three hits for the rest of the game. Shugart’s stat line is listed below:
Chase Shugart – 6.0IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, 3BB, 3SO, 104 pitches
Matteo Bocchi followed Shugart’s performance with 1.2 scoreless innings, and Swiss-army knife Andy McGuire recorded the last four outs of the ballgame unscathed.
Although some would say, including myself, the results of this series were largely disappointing (and heartbreaking), Texas was able to avoid being swept on the road. The Longhorns have showed a lot of fight this series, coming back from deficits that usually end in losses. Unfortunately, that didn’t result in a comeback in on Friday.
This is the part of the season where Texas is going to start seeing the level of competition improve substantially, as they will need to continue winning mid-week games and remain competitive in Big 12 series. Coming up, Texas will have mi-week games against McNeese State and Texas A&M–Corpus Christi before returning to Austin in a matchup with the Baylor Bears.
You can catch the McNeese State game tomorrow at 6:30 P.M. on the LHN or listen on 104.9 The Horn.