Baseball: Horns Notch 4-2 Win Over Kansas

<B>J.P. Howell</B> picked up a career-beat 11th win as the UT offense scored twice in each of the first two innings to overcome an early 1-0 deficit as No. 2 Texas (44-8, 15-6) earned a 4-2 victory over Kansas (26-27-1, 2-16) Friday at the Disch. The win marked the club's 20th come-from-behind victory in '04 and also moved the team into a percentage points lead over Oklahoma State (29-15, 12-5) at the top of the Big 12 standings. The Cowboys open a series with Nebraska Saturday in Stillwater.

Oklahoma kept pace with the Horns at a half-game out of the league lead with a 21-6 shellacking of Missouri.

After a shaky start, Howell allowed one earned run on five hits while striking out five. Reliever Huston Street notched a team leading seventh save of the season.

Kansas broke on top 1-0 in the top of the first as a wild pitch plated the first run of the game with one out after Matt Baty reached on a leadoff single and advanced to third on a ground-rule double off the bat of Ryan Baty. The Longhorns answered in the bottom of the frame and took a 2-1 lead without the benefit of a hit as they loaded the bases on three straight walks and brought home a pair of runs on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly from Taylor Teagarden. A solo home run to open the bottom of the second from Robby Hudson followed by a one-out RBI-single from Hunter Harris after a J.D. Reininger single and a Drew Stubbs sacrifice bunt then produced an early 4-1 UT advantage. From there, Howell retired 10 in a row.

In the sixth, Kansas used a leadoff walk to Ritchie Price, a passed ball and a bloop double to center from Ryan Baty to make it a 4-2 ballgame with no outs. The Jayhawks then placed the tying run on when Travis Metcalf was hit by a pitch, but Howell recorded the first out of the frame at third on a fielder's choice bunt back to the mound and then got his next batter to hit into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning with UT still in front by two.

Howell and reliever J. Brent Cox kept the Jayhawks scoreless through eight. After a UT scoring threat with two on and one out in the bottom of the eighth was stymied, KU managed to bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth when Sean Richardson singled to center with one out. Street entered the game to face Richardson, then got a ground ball to second base that resulted in a double play to seal the victory and notch save No. 7.

Paving the way for the Texas offense on the evening was Hudson with a 2-for-4 performance that included one run scored and one RBI, and Harris, who tallied one hit while also scoring one run and driving in another.

The Horns continue the three-game series with the Jayhawks at Disch-Falk Field on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

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