Baseball: Texas Completes Sweep Of Kansas, 7-1

<B>Justin Simmons </B>tossed five scoreless innings and <B>Huston Street</B> notched his third save in as many days as No. 2 Texas (46-8, 17-6) erupted with five unanswered runs in the seventh and eighth innings to lead No. 2 Texas to a 7-1 victory over Kansas at the Disch on Sunday. Street's ninth save of the season gave him 38 for his career, making him the Big 12 Conference's all-time career saves leader.

The sweep of the Jayhawks kept Texas in the league-lead -- at least till Monday. Oklahoma State (31-15, 14-5) earned its second series win over Nebraska Sunday with the series finale set for Monday in Stillwater. If the Cowboys complete the sweep, the Horns will slide back percentage points behind OSU. Oklahoma (31-18, 17-7) remains a half-game back of UT after its sweep of Kansas State.

Sunday's contest in Austin belonged to Simmons, who has quietly rebounded from last year's 5-6 mark to improve to 9-2 on the year. Last season's low-water mark followed Simmons' 16-1 All-American campaign as a sophomore that incuded a 'W' in Texas' 2002 College World Series victory over South Carolina.

"What he's done is he's made a remarkable turnaround from a most difficult year," head coach Augie Garrido said Sunday, "but he has that character about him. And that speaks well for his mom and dad and his family that supported him during the tough years. We feel like he provides tremendous leadership for us."

Simmons struck out two while walking none and allowing only four hits over five innings of work.

"The record of a pitcher is not necessarily reflective of how good he is," Garrido added. "It's a team effort, and the team plays a key role in it. During the year that he had that fabulous run (2002), the team offensively did some great things and did some great things at the right time for him that they didn't do last year for him. But it's always a battle. This game is a battle. But it gets harder for a player who has had an enormous amount of success to not be affected in a negative way by the expectations that others put on him and that he puts on himself."

Simmons and Jayhawk starter Ryan Knippschild held each respective offense in check as they locked in a pitcher's duel that yielded a 0-0 deadlock through the middle of the fourth. In the bottom of the fourth, the Horns received a leadoff double from Taylor Teagarden followed by a line-drive single off the third baseman's glove by Carson Kainer to place runners on the corner with no outs. Then, with one away, Robby Hudson dropped a suicide squeeze bunt to the left side of the infield which spotted Texas a 1-0 lead. The margin would remain until the bottom of the sixth when Teagarden, who reached third to begin the frame on a three-base error when two outfielders collided on a fly ball to right center, scored on Kainer's bloop double.

A Travis Metcalf solo home run opened the top of the seventh as the Jayhawks' catcher became the 28th player in Disch-Falk Field history to send one over "The Monster". The Horns immediately countered in the bottom of the inning with three runs to grab a 5-1 lead as David Maroul hit his second home run of the year and Curtis Thigpen and Kainer came through with a run-scoring single and a RBI double, respectively, following a base hit by Drew Stubbs and a sacrifice.

Kansas put two runners on with no out in the top of the eighth vs. Street, but the Horns' junior closer fanned his next three batters to keep the four-run lead in tact. After UT tacked on two more scores in the bottom of the eighth on three hits, including RBI singles from Seth Johnston and Thigpen, Street worked a scoreless top of the ninth to seal the six-run triumph.

Pacing the Longhorns' 14-hit attack was the freshmen duo of Stubbs and Kainer. Both tallied three hits while combining for two RBI and two runs scored. Three different Horns contributed multiple-hit efforts, including Thigpen, who drove in two and scored one run, and Maroul, who had one RBI and plated a pair of scores.

Before the regular season-ending series with the Ags May 21-23, the Horns host N.C. State in a doubleheader set for Saturday, May 15 at 1:00 p.m.

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