Baseball: Texas Goes 0-fer Baylor in '05

Half of UT's starting battery returned to action Saturday morning in Oklahoma, but it wasn't enough to power the Horns to their first victory over Baylor this season. The No. 2 seed Bears overcame a four-run, a two-run and finally a one-run deficit to advance to the Big 12 Tournament finals and eliminate No. 3 seed Texas.

Baylor's Kevin Russo delivered the big blow off of reliever Jordon Street, who took the loss, smashing the freshman's top of the eighth offering into the left field bleachers to erase UT's 8-7 lead and provide the Bears their final 9-8 margin. (Russo passed a baserunner after his blast, and was called out, reducing what should have been a three-run homer to a two-RBI single and put out.)

Kyle McCulloch flew up to Oklahoma City on Friday night and took the mound for the Horns at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning. The sophomore ace lasted six-plus innings but didn't have his best stuff after his extended layoff while treating a back injury.

The Horns wasted brilliant plate performances from Seth Johnston and Nick Peoples. The shortstop went four-for-five and the right fielder went four-for-four, with Johnston scoring four runs and Peoples driving in four.

Baylor wasted no time continuing on its early season success against the Horns, plating a run in the top of the first when Michael Griffin led off the game with a single and came around to score on a Zach Dillon drive down the left field line.

Texas responded quickly, though, pushing across two in home half of the first to take a 2-1 lead. Johnston started the two-out rally with a single and Carson Kainer followed with his first home run of the season.

The Horns put some distance between themselves and the Bears in the bottom of the fourth with, who else, Johnston leading off with a double. After a Kainer groundout, Chance Wheeless singled to score Johnston, and, after a David Maroul flyout, Will Crouch walked to load the bases to set the table for Clay Van Hook. UT's fill-in catcher hit a grounder that SS Paul Witt misplayed and then threw away, allowing two unearned runs to score to make the score 5-1.

After threatening in both the third and the fourth, Baylor finally tagged McCulloch in the top of the fifth, scoring four runs on four singles, a walk and a sac fly to tie the game at 5.

Texas regained the lead in the home half of the inning. Drew Stubbs and Johnston opened with singles and Peoples smashed a ball to deep left center just over the glove of the Baylor left fielder to plate both runners and put the Horns back in the lead, 7-5.

Baylor evened it up in the seventh, though, with two runs on just one hit but two walks, two wild pitches and a passed ball. (Texas again really missed starting catcher Taylor Teagarden.)

Johnston led off the bottom of the seventh with a single and, who else, Peoples singled to score him to give the Horns a brief, and their final, lead at 8-7.

Regional sites will be announced Sunday and the seedings and the field of 64 will be announced Monday. Given its late season struggles (UT is just 10-8 since taking the first two from Okie State in late April), Texas (45-14) will be sweating the seeding announcement, hoping to earn one of the top 8 national seeds which would mean hosting both a regional and (with a regional win) a super regional.

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