'Run-Rule' Sends Bears Home Early: UT 11, BU 1

Junior <B>J.P. Howell </B>struck out a career-best 12 over seven innings and the Longhorns plated 11 runs on eight hits as No. 1 Texas (38-5, 11-3 Big 12) posted an 11-1 victory in seven innings over Baylor (16-21, 6-8 Big 12) in front of 5,872 at Disch-Falk Field on Sunday. With the conference run-rule triumph, UT wins its series with the Bears by a 2-1 count and improves to 21-2 at home this season.

Of course, the Bears handed Texas one of those losses in a 5-3 setback Saturday that went 10 innings. That loss will keep Texas behind league-leading Oklahoma (12-3 Big 12), which took two of three at A&M, for at least another weekend. The Horns host Nebraska (7-5 Big 12) this coming weekend while the Sooners trip to Texas Tech (6-5 Big 12).

Howell, the ace of the Texas staff, would likely have received the starting nod Friday had he not started the contest against Rice last Tuesday. As it was, the junior lefty improved to 8-1 with his third complete game of the season. He has fanned at least six during nine of his 10 starts to date, including three double-digit strikeout efforts.

The Longhorns broke on top 4-0 in the bottom of the second by combining a leadoff single from Seth Johnston with a fielder's choice bunt, two walks, a RBI groundout from Michael Hollimon and a fielding error. Baylor would answer with its first hit and run of the game with a solo home run off the bat of Michael Griffin to begin the fourth.

Texas immediately responded in the bottom of the frame to make it a 5-1 contest as Drew Stubbs drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, stole third and came home on a RBI single from Chance Wheeless. One inning later, Curtis Thigpen singled, moved to second on a balk and, after an error allowed Johnston to reach, came around to score on an errant throw during a pick-off attempt. UT then loaded the bases on two walks before a two-run single from J.D. Reininger and consecutive wild pitches brought home another run to push the Horns out on top by a score of 9-1.

Howell, meanwhile, scattered four hits over his seven innings to maintain Texas' eight-run advantage before the Horns added a pair of two-out unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh courtesy of a double by Wheeless, a fielding error and a RBI single delivered by Robby Hudson to end the game via the Big 12 Conference's 10-run rule.

Pacing the Longhorns' offense on the afternoon was the trio of Wheeless, who went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI and runs scored, Thigpen, who recorded his 17th multi-hit outing of the year with a 2-for-4 effort and one run scored, and Reininger, who collected one hit, drove in two and scored a run.

The Horns host the Bobcats of Texas State in a 6:15 p.m. game at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday.

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