UT Outslugs OSU, 10-7, In Big 12 Tourney: Ags Next

Texas (39-16) scored five runs in the fourth inning to break open a tight ballgame en route to 14-hit, 10-7 win over Oklahoma State (34-23) in the opening round of the 2003 Big 12 Tournament at the SBC Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City on Wednesday. The Horns, ranked ninth nationally and seeded third in the tourney, avenged a regular season series loss to the Cowboys and face a pivotal 5 p.m. contest against Texas A&M on Thursday.

Both the Horns and the Aggies are locks for the NCAA Tournament, but the feeling here is that a win Thursday would cement Texas’ bid as a host site and would certainly ease the pain from Sunday’s bitter home loss to A&M. (You never, never, never want to lose three-out-of-four to the Farmers in any sport.) Ironically, Oklahoma State faces Oklahoma in the Tournament’s first elimination game Thursday despite the home-state venue for both clubs.

Relief pitcher Jesen Merle (3-2) was credited with the win while Huston Street matched the school sophomore record for saves (9). Offensively, the clutch hitting that was non-existent Sunday emerged as the Longhorns scored half of their runs with two away. Meanwhile, each Texas starter contributed at least one hit or one RBI on the day.

Tim Moss and Eric Sultemeier tallied three RBI apiece while Dustin Majewski went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a pair of RBI. Majewski now has 68 RBI for the year (the most single-season RBI for a Longhorn since Danny Peoples drove in 86 runs seven years ago). The senior also set a new Big 12 Tournament record by hitting safely in seven-straight games dating back to 2002.

The Longhorns broke on top 2-0 in the bottom of the first as Majewski doubled in Omar Quintanilla, before scoring himself after stealing third and advancing on Sultemeier’s sacrifice bunt. Majewski’s steal was the first of a team season-high five stolen bases for the game.

OSU countered in the top of the second by scoring two unearned runs to knot the score at 2-2. Moss’ one-out, RBI base hit plated Seth Johnston in the bottom of the second but the Pokes tied the game in the fourth at 3-3 by combining a walk and a balk with a RBI hit from Scott Kirby.

Then came the big inning for Texas. The Horns jumped to an 8-3 advantage by scoring five runs in the bottom of the fourth, including four with two away. Moss’ RBI-double, Majewski’s run-scoring single and Sultemeier’s two-run base hit keyed the scoring burst.

Consecutive bases loaded, RBI hits from Kirby and Kenny Hansley pulled OSU back within two at 8-6 in the fifth. After Texas plated a run in the bottom of the frame that pushed the Longhorns' lead to 9-6, OSU countered with a single run in the seventh to make it a 9-7 contest.

The Cowboys threatened in the eighth by placing two on with one out, but Street came in to save the day with 1-2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Texas added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth for the final score, 10-7.

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