Title Hopes Damaged With Series Loss At Kansas

Texas dropped two of three games over the weekend at lowly Kansas and, despite salvaging a 16-5 decision Sunday, the series' loss dealt a serious blow to the Longhorns' Big 12 title defense.

Texas actually split a pair of games Sunday, as the final 1.5 innings of Saturday's rain-delayed contest resulted in a 2-1 Jayhawk win. The Horns then took out their frustration behind a season-best 16 runs in the third game that was called after eight innings due to the conference's 10-run 'mercy' rule. But there is no mercy for the Horns in the league standings. The two loses dropped the Horns to 39-11 overall and to 14-9 in the Big 12, still in third in the league but on the verge of dropping out of the title race.

Mathematically, it's still possible for Texas to win its third Big 12 title in four seasons. But the Horns would need to sweep Texas A&M (May 20-22) while league-leading Baylor will have to lose at least four of its final six Big 12 games, Nebraska three of its final six and Missouri one of its final six. The Bears were idle over the weekend but close with a series against the Aggies (two games in College Station, one in Waco) before hosting the Tigers.

Texas endured a three-run fifth inning that proved to be the difference-maker in Friday's 5-2 loss. Longhorn hitters managed only five hits, as ace Kyle McCulloch's record fell to 7-3 on the season. The Jayhawks managed just two more hits than Texas but benefited from two unearned runs.

Saturday's game went into the books much like the first game. Texas registered only six hits and managed only a single run. The story of this one was that Texas went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

In Sunday's afternoon contest, Texas racked up 14 hits in the ballgame, with CF Drew Stubbs and SS Seth Johnston each plating three hits. Johnston homered in the top of the first to put the Horns on the board. The Texas dingers continued into the second inning when 3B David Maroul went deep to left field on a solo shot.

Kansas answered in the bottom of the second, as Texas starter Adrian Alaniz gave up three singles that yielded two runs. The scoreboard was quiet in the next two innings, until Texas broke the silence with a pair of runs in the fifth. RF Calvin Beamon doubled to right center and advanced to third on a LF Nick Peoples sacrifice bunt. 2B Robby Hudson brought Beamon home on a fielder's choice and Stubbs later stole home to conclude Texas' two-run inning.

Clayton Stewart, who relieved Alaniz in the fourth, gave up two hits and two runs in the same inning to bring the game to a 4-4 tie after five.

The sixth inning proved to be the breakout period Texas had hoped for all weekend, when the Horns knocked in six runs off of five hits. The scoring barrage started when C Taylor Teagarden slammed a double that scored DH Will Crouch. After a Beamon walk and a Peoples single, Teagarden reached home for Texas' second run in the frame. Stubbs then singled to right, advancing Peoples to second and plating Beamon. Johnston's RBI single scored Peoples before a Jayhawk wild pitch moved two base runners into scoring position. In his second plate appearance of the inning, Crouch brought home two runs off of a single to finish the scoring.

Texas kept at it in the seventh, scoring one run after Teagarden singled and later reached home on a Hudson hit. Kansas replied in bottom of the inning when J. Brent Cox forfeited a run off of two hits. Cox finished the game pitching three innings, giving up one earned run off four hits.

Texas added five more runs in the eighth and final inning. UT was credited with a pair of runs following successive, bases-load walks. A fielding error resulted in two more runs for Texas. Stubbs then doubled to bring in the final run of the inning. Cox quickly ended the eighth inning for Kansas by giving up no runs and striking out two.

Texas returns to the Disch on Saturday, May 14 to host a doubleheader against Dallas Baptist.

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