Texas Wins Big 12 Title With 12-9 Win At A&M

No. 2 Texas claimed its second Big 12 Conference regular season baseball title in three years with a 12-9 triumph over Texas A&M in College Station Saturday. The Horns' 22nd come-from-behind victory of the season, coupled with Oklahoma's 1-0 loss at Nebraska, secured the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament next week and cements the all-but-done deal that Texas will host an NCAA Regional in June.

Texas improved to 48-10 overall, 19-6 in conference play while the Aggies (ranked as high as No. 9 in one poll) fell to 38-17 and 13-12 in Big 12 action. Curtis Thigpen and J.D. Reininger both went 4-for-5 on the evening to pace Texas' 15 hit attack while Robby Hudson tallied a career-high 4 RBI during his 3-for-5 effort.

It took five Longhorn pitchers to subdue the Aggies, but RHP Kyle Yates picked up his first win of the year after coming on in relief in the bottom of the fifth. Closer Huston Street was credited with his 10th save of the season after working a season-high four complete innings to secure the series win. RF Cory Patton was a one-man wrecking crew for the Farmers, tallying seven RBIs and cranking two out of the park in his first couple of at-bats. But it is a sweet, sweet night in May when Texas rallies to beat its arch rivals at their place while simultaneously edging its archest of rivals for the league crown.

All told, the most storied program in college baseball will take home its 72nd league crown in 108 seasons. It happened like this:

RHP Sam LeCure (7-2) took the mound for the Horns to open the contest but, as we've said nearly every week for the past month, has been shaky even in victory. The sophomore surrendered three hits in the opening frame, including Patton's 2-RBI shot over left-center field as the Aggies jumped to a 2-0 lead. But Texas answered with the first of two four-run innings on the night.

RF Carson Kainer singled to left before Aggie RHP Zach Jackson hit DH Will Crouch with an errant pitch. With two on and no outs, SS Robby Hudson showed bunt but swung away to drive the ball into right field to score Kainer from second. J. D. Reininger's bloop single to center field loaded the bases prior to a pair of fielders' choice groundouts and Seth Johnston's sacrifice fly to center field to notch a 4-2 Texas advantage.

In the bottom half of the frame, Hudson misplayed Erik Schindewolf's sharply hit grounder and failed to turn what would have been a double-play to end the inning. Although it was just Hudson's second error of the year, General Patton struck again with his three-run homer to put the Aggies back in front, 5-4. 3B Austin Boggs followed with a double and came around to score on a Coby Mavroulis single to give A&M a 6-4 lead with four unearned runs.

Kyle McCullough (7-0, 2.31 ERA) came on in relief of LeCure in the bottom of the third and produced three outs on three pitches.

The Horns cut into the lead in the top of the fourth as Johnston singled and moved to second following Thigpen's third straight hit of the evening. Johnston came around to score after the Aggie left fielder snagged Taylor Teagarden's fly ball but launched the relay throw into the A&M dugout.

A&M loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth after Stubbs and Kainer misplayed two balls hit into the outfield (neither was tagged with an error, but both balls should have resulted in outs). General Patton, still carrying his big stick, delivered a 2-RBI single up the middle to spot the Aggies an 8-5 lead. But Texas used consecutive one-out base hits that combined with an outfield error (LF Travis Bartek let Reininger's shot roll between his legs all the way to the warning track) to score a run in the top of the fifth.

More important, the sixth inning has been good to Texas in this weekend's series. On Friday, the Horns overcame a 3-0 deficit by rallying for six runs in the bottom of the sixth. Saturday, Texas tacked on four runs in the top of the sixth to reclaim the lead for good. Thigpen's one-out double ignited the offense and the junior scored on a wild pitch. The Horns were within one at 8-7. After walking Kainer and Crouch, a tiring Jackson had already tossed 101 pitches. But his next pitch would be the difference maker. With two outs, Hudson atoned for his previous miscue with his three-run homer to left field to put the Horns on top, 10-8.

Texas tacked on two insurance runs in the final frame behind a walk, a Stubbs single to left, a wild pitch, and Thigpen's RBI sacrifice. Boggs homered in the bottom half of the ninth off of Street but it was too little, too late for the Farmers. Street, who fanned five on the night, wasn't going to let this one slip away.

The only thing at stake in Sunday's 2 p.m. (CDT) contest at Olsen Field is whether Texas can sweep the Aggies for just the third time in the past ten years. The Horns are already assured of the first of what they hope will be five titles (Big 12 regular season, Big 12 Tournament, Sub-regional, Regional and CWS).

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