Baseball: Horns One Game From Sweep With 5-2 Win

MANHATTAN, Kan. - By using a two-run home run from Seth Johnston and a solo round-tripper off the bat of Drew Stubbs in the seven and ninth innings, respectively, to break a 2-2 tie and having four pitchers combine to hold the Wildcats scoreless from the fifth inning on, No. 1 Texas (34-4, 8-2 Big 12) earned is seventh straight win with a 5-2 victory over Kansas State (20-12, 2-6 Big 12) in front of a crowd of 1,010 fans at Frank Myers Field/Tointon Family Stadium on Saturday, April 10.

With the triumph, UT has also won the first two contests of its three-game set with Kansas State to claim its fourth consecutive league series victory.

The game began with two scoreless frames, but in the top of the third Texas took advantage off a dropped fly ball off the bat of Drew Stubbs (Atlanta, Texas/Atlanta) that placed a runner on third with no outs before Robby Hudson (Redlands, Calif./Redlands/Riverside CC) came through with a RBI-single to left to give the Longhorns a 1-0 lead. Kansas State would answer quickly with a run of its own to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the third behind a triple from Ryan Saltzgaber that was followed by a run-scoring double off the bat of Zach Troilo. The Wildcats then grabbed their first lead of the series at 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth when Zack Saunders connected on a two-out, solo home run over the left field wall. Looking to respond, UT received a two-out double from Curtis Thipgen (Forney, Texas/Forney) with Stubbs on second after a single and a sacrifice bunt to knot the game at 2-2 in the top of the fifth.

Kansas State would threaten to break the deadlock in the sixth as the Wildcats received back-to-back singles from Chris Carlson and Josh Heinrich to start the frame, but after a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up, Justin Simmons (DeSoto, Texas/Duncanville) got the next two batters he faced to hit ground balls for outs and preserve the tie. Texas then had Seth Johnston (Boerne, Texas/Boerne) follow a double from Hudson with one out in the top of the seventh with his club-best fifth home run of the year to pull the Horns in front by a score of 4-2. KSU would again attempt to answer by placing runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the seventh courtesy of a double from Terry Blunt and a walk to Josh Dent, but reliever Buck Cody (Oklahoma City, Okla./Casady) came on to strike out his first batter before rolling a groundball out to close the frame with UT's two-run lead in tact.

While Cody would strand Josh Heinrich on second with a leadoff double in the eighth to stymie another KSU threat, Stubbs would send a 1-1 pitch in the top of the ninth over the right field wall to stake the Horns to a 5-2 advantage. Not showing any signs of giving up, the Wildcats again put a runner on via a walk with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but Cody and J. Brent Cox (Bay City, Texas/Bay City) were able to combine for the final three outs to give the Horns their seventh straight victory. Simmons, who scattered seven hits over six innings while allowing only two runs and striking out four, improved to 8-1 on the year with the win, while Cox notched his team-leading fifth save and Carlos Torres incurred the loss for KSU despite throwing 141 pitches during an 8.1-inning, seven-strikeout performance.

Pacing Texas' 10-hit attack on the afternoon were Stubbs, who went 2-for-4 with his fourth home run of the year, three runs scored and a RBI, the duo of Hudson and Johnston, who each tallied two hits in four at bats while combining for two runs scored and three RBI, and Hunter Harris (Tulsa, Okla./Metro Christian Academy/Connors State College), who reached base safely in all four of his plate appearances during a 3-for-3 outing. Kansas State, meanwhile, had its offense led by Dent, who singled twice and drew a pair of walks, and Heinrich, who went 2-for-4 on the day. In terms of additional notes for Texas, Thigpen upped his current hit streak to nine games, while Simmons won his sixth straight decision to up his career victory total to 36 and move into sole possession of sixth place on the school career victory list.

Texas and Kansas State conclude this three-game series at Frank Myers Stadium/Tointon Family Stadium on Sunday, April 11 at 1 p.m.

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