Baseball: Freshmen Power Horns' 9-3 Win

Freshman <B>Carson Kainer</B> collected three hits, including his second home run of the year, as No. 1 Texas (39-5) earned a 9-3 victory over Texas State (22-18) in front of 4,379 at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday.

Kainer tops all Longhorn hitters with a .368 average. On Tuesday, Kainer matched a career-best with three hits in as many at bats while setting a career high for runs scored as well as RBI, with three and two, respectively.

"He has really been the most consistent performer offensively," head coach Augie Garrido said. "What I see in Carson is the ability to hit the ball and he plays good solid defense."

UT starter Kyle McCulloch picked up the win in a declared start to improve to 6-0 on the year after scattering four hits over three innings and fanning three. Yet 1989 Longhorn baseball alum Ty Harrington's bunch brought their lumber from San Marcos.

"I thought the battle their hitters put up tonight was impressive," Garrido said. "They hit us hard. The balls they put into play for a lot of the outs were really hit hard. If we didn't have the athletic ability that we had defensively, a lot of those balls would have been hits."

Make that even more hits as the Bobcats outhit the Horns 13-7.

"They had a lot of hits but they had a lot of hard outs," Garrido said. "They hit some really good pitchers hard. That's probably as hard as our pitchers have been hit by any one team in any one game."

The Bobcats were their own worst enemy, committing four errors while TSU pitchers hit four Longhorn batters.

The Longhorns loaded the bases on a single, a walk and a hit batter in the bottom of the opening frame before scoring four times via a passed ball, a RBI groundout from Hunter Harris and two-run home run off the bat of Kainer. Texas then grabbed a 5-0 lead in the second as freshman Drew Stubbs reached on a fielder's choice, advanced to second on a wild pitch, stole third and scored as the throw down on the steal attempt went into left field. From there, the Horns added a run in the third via a single by Kainer that was followed by a walk and a RBI double from freshman Chance Wheeless before the Bobcats cut their deficit to 6-1 in the top of the fourth behind three singles, including a one-out, run-scoring base hit delivered by Nolan Mast.

Three more TSU singles in the fifth capped by a two-run base hit from Matt Miller with two outs made it a 6-3 game. Following a scoreless sixth, the Bobcats managed to load the bases with one out in the seventh on a walk and two singles to put the tying run on base, but Huston Street came on in relief and retired the next two batters he faced on a strikeout and a ground ball to keep the Longhorns on top by three.

Curtis Thigpen then produced a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh that he turned into a run as he was balked to second, stole third and then came home on a failed pick-off chance at third base. Still not done, UT loaded the bases on two hit batters sandwiched around an intentional walk before consecutive walks to Reininger and Michael Hollimon pushed the Longhorns out in front by a count of 9-3. Street and J. Brent Cox then worked a scoreless eighth and ninth, respectively, to seal the victory for Texas.

The Horns (11-3, good for second in the Big 12 behind 12-3 Oklahoma), open a pivotal three-game conference series with fourth place Nebraska (26-9 overall, 7-5 in league play) at the Disch, 6:15 p.m. on Friday. The Huskers are the defending regular season conference champs and finished second to Texas for the league crown during the Horns' 2002 national championship season.

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