Courtesy of texassports.com
AUSTIN, Texas – The No. 23 Texas Longhorns fell behind early but bounced back to register a 7-2 win over the Kansas Jayhawks in Big 12 Conference baseball action Sunday afternoon at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
With the victory, the Longhorns won two of three against the Jayhawks to claim their12th consecutive Big 12 Conference series and Texas has won 24 of its last 25 league series.
Kansas (16-25, 4-11 Big 12) jumped on the board quickly with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Tucker Tharp led off the inning with a single down the rightfield line and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kevin Kuntz. Chris Manship drew a five-pitch walk to put a pair of runners on base. Brooks Marlow appeared to save a run when he dove to his left to snag a would-be single and retired Alex DeLeon at first. The groundout put two runners in scoring position with two outs. Texas offered up two runs to the Jayhawks as a wild pitch allowed Tharp to score and a balk by Dillon Peters brought Manship home for the 2-0 lead.
After being held hitless through the first four innings, the Longhorns pounced on the Jayhawks for four runs in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Kevin Lusson and Mark Payton sandwiched walks around a single up the middle by Jordan Etier to load the bases. The Longhorns entered the game with just six hits on the season with bases loaded, but an RBI single to leftfield by Taylor Stell drove in one run and Erich Weiss followed with a two-run double off the wall in rightfield to give Texas its first lead of the game, 3-2. Jonathan Walsh capped off the scoring in the inning with a sacrifice fly to rightfield to plate Stell.
The Longhorns’ lead ballooned to 6-2 with a pair of unearned runs in the sixth inning. Marlow reached base on an error to start the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Lusson. Etier laced a double down the rightfield line to drive in Marlow. After Etier moved to third on a wild pitch, he scored when Payton pushed a sacrifice squeeze bunt down the first base line for the four-run lead.
Texas (23-14, 11-4 Big 12) tacked on an insurance run in the seventh inning. Weiss was issued a walk to start the frame and was replaced at first by Walsh who bounced into a fielder’s choice. With two outs, Felts singled to centerfield to put runners on the corners. Marlow followed with a wall-banger to the gap in right centerfield to plate Walsh for the 7-2 lead. The inning ended when Felts was retired at home trying to score on Marlow’s double.
Hoby Milner (6-4) worked 2.1 scoreless innings, allowing one hit while striking out four to earn the win. After Peters struggled in the start, John Curtiss came in and settled the game down. He worked 3.1 shutout innings, retiring 10 of the 11 batters he faced with one hit allowed. Corey Knebel retired all seven batters he faced in a non-save situation, including two strikeouts in 2.1 innings.
Taylor Thomas (4-5) was saddled with the loss for Kansas. He allowed four runs on three hits and five walks while striking out two over 4.2 innings.
Etier led the Longhorns at the plate going 2-for-4 with two runs, one double and one RBI. Weiss went 1-for-3 with one double and two RBI. Payton went 0-for-1 with three walks, one sacrifice bunt, one run and one RBI.
Tharp went 2-for-4 to lead the Jayhawks’ batters.
Texas returns to action on Tuesday when the Longhorns host the Central Arkansas Bears in a 6 p.m. contest at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.