Horns Drop 3-2 Contest To Ags: Face OU Friday

No. 9 Texas (39-17) dropped a 3-2 decision to No. 8 Texas A&M (43-15) during the second round of the Big 12 Baseball Tournament at the SBC Bricktown Ballpark Thursday in Oklahoma City. The Longhorns now face Oklahoma in the Sooners' own backyard in a 4 p.m. elimination game Friday.

The setback mitigated an otherwise solid performance from starting pitcher J.P. Howell (7-2) who tossed his first career complete game. The sophomore held the Aggies to only one hit during the final six frames by retiring 18 consecutive batters at one point.

Seth Johnston delivered a pair of solo home runs but it was Texas’ defense, spotty all season, that was its undoing in this one. The Aggies jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the third via two errors, a wild pitch and three singles, including a pair of infield base hits. 

"They had that one inning and they took advantage of their opportunity," Howell said. "They got three runs and they were battling for it. That is their will, and the will to win. They are a tough team and all they needed was one chance. With a team like that, you can't give them that opportunity. We knew we had to bear down after that."

Texas responded offensively two innings later when Johnston connected on his second career home run in to pull the Horns back within 3-1. UT added another run in the bottom of the seventh as Johnston came through with his second round-tripper in as many at bats to make it a 3-2 ballgame.  But Aggie pitchers retired the Horns in order during the final two innings to close out the 3-2 victory. 

Johnston went 2-for-3 with a career-best two RBI while his two home runs tied a Big 12 Tournament record for most home runs in one game. Dustin Majewski extended his tourney-record hit string to eight contests. "After the series this weekend in Austin, both teams have shown performances that can win championships," Augie Garrido said. For the Horns, any championship run will require beating the Aggies twice (after beating Oklahoma), something this Texas team hasn't managed to do despite four games vs. the College Station crew.

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