Howell combined with two UT relievers to allow only three hits over seven innings as No. 1 Texas improved to 42-8 (14-6 Big 12) in front of all of 968 fans at Taylor Stadium/Simmons Field. The Horns own a half-game lead in the league standings over Oklahoma State (29-15, 12-5) and Oklahoma (28-18, 14-7), although the Cowboys have a slight percentage points lead over Texas (.705 to .700).
Texas grabbed its first lead of the series in the top of the first as Hunter Harris and Curtis Thigpen reached second and third, respectively, with one out via a fielder's choice bunt and a single before a Taylor Teagarden sacrifice fly and a passed ball brought in both runners to give the Horns an early 2-0 advantage. An inning later, UT increased its lead to 3-0 as Ryan Russ singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and came around to score on freshman Carson Kainer's two-out base hit to center.
A Harris single to open the third followed one-out later by Tegarden's homer pushed the Longhorn lead to 5-0. Texas broke this one wide open in the fourth as Robby Hudson reached on an error, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a RBI single from Kainer. The Horns then loaded the bases with two consecutive walks before scoring eight more times behind a two-run single from Thigpen, a bases-loaded walk to J.D. Reininger, a two-RBI base hit off the bat of Russ, a run-scoring double from Hudson and Seth Johnston's two-run homer to build a 14-0 advantage.
Howell, meanwhile, limited the Tigers to only one hit over the first four frames while fanning a pair before giving way in the fifth to J. Brent Cox who worked two scoreless frames. Harris then doubled in a pair with two outs in the top of the seventh to push UT on top, 16-0, while Huston Street came on in the bottom of the inning and retired three of the four batters he faced to complete the shutout. Howell is the first Longhorn to notch back-to-back 10-win seasons since D.J. Jones (1999 & 2000).
Paving the way for the Texas offense, which saw all nine hitters in the lineup score at least one run, were four players with multi-hit outings, including Harris, who went 2-for-4 with a career-high three runs and two RBI, and Thigpen, who posted two hits while also scoring twice and driving in a pair. Teagarden extended his hitting streak to six games with a 1-for-2 outing that included two runs scored and three RBI.
The Horns face Texas State on Tuesday at the Disch before returning to conference play this weekend in Austin vs. the league's next-to-last-place team Kansas (25-23-1, 2-13).