Texas Takes Game One vs. Kansas

Each time the defense stepped up, the offense stepped up in kind. A double-play in the top half, three runs in the bottom half. A strikeout to end the top half, a homerun in the bottom half. With steady hitting and lockdown pitching down the stretch, the Longhorns took the first of their three game set against the Jayhawks, 7-4.

"The game was very Shakespearean," said Texas Head Coach Augie Garrido. "It was a three part play. You saw the meek, the careless and the carefree in the first part, you saw the determined, the talented and the competitive in the second part, and then in the second you saw both."

The poetic Garrido's metaphor was quite apt. The bats were cold early, but the Horns consistently got runners on base for the rest of the game. The Longhorns got a runner on base to lead off the 4th, 5th, 6, 7th, and 8th innings.

It was all Jayhawks early. Ritchie Price got things started things off for Kansas with a single to left field. In the next at bat, center fielder Matt Baty's bunt dropped right in front of Texas catcher Preston Clark, but 1st baseman Chance Wheeless dropped the throw, allowing Baty to reach and Price to move to third. They were then brought home on a 2 RBI single from Jayhawk right fielder Gus Milner.

The Texas bats remained quiet, unable to get a hit until the third inning.

Top fifth, the Longhorn's starting pitcher Kyle McCulloch took a liner off his left leg and in the ensuing scramble for the ball, Baty reached first and DH Brock Simpson moved to third base. After trying in vain to stand on his leg, Mculloch was forced to limp his way off the field.

Freshman lefthander Kyle Walker replaced McCulloch on the mound. Brought into a jam, Walker got Milner, the hot hand for the Jayhawks to ground into a double-play to bring up the bottom of the fifth.

Texas carried the momentum into their half of the inning.

Kyle Russell, in his first game back from an ankle injury suffered against Texas A&M, started off the inning by drawing a four pitch walk. Earlier in the week it was unknown whether or not Russell would be back this season.

"I was out and ready to give a 110% for the team," said Russell. He also addressed the status of his ankle. "It was feeling good, the swelling is down, I just hope I don't do anything stupid to hurt it again," he said with a smile.

Clark followed Russell's walk with a single to right and then SS Chais Fuller bunted them both into scoring position. Nick Peoples then hit a single right up the pipe to score both runners and put the Horns on the board. Then, atoning for his earlier error, Wheeless drove the ball into deep left and Peoples barely beat out the throw, scoring all the way from first base and tying the score at 3.

Another strong defensive top half and another double play for the Horns in the top of the 6th and in the bottom of the inning Texas was pressing again. After Hunter Harris got on base with a single and was moved over on a Bradley Suttle SAC bunt, Kansas pitcher Ricky Fairchild was pulled from the game. Fairchild went five and a third innings, surrendering three runs on five hits with one strikeout. Brendan McNamera came into the game and quickly dispatched Russell and Clark.

In the bottom 7th Texas had runners at the corner with one out when Drew Stubbs came up to the plate. Facing McNamera, who had only given up one hit to that point, Stubbs hit a looper into right field to bring home Peoples. Kansas Head Coach Ritch Price pulled McNamera in favor of Paul Smyth, but it was to no avail. Carson Kainer's 2 RBI single scored both Stubbs and Wheeless. Hunter Harris hit into a double play to end the inning, but the damage had been done.

In the top of the 8th, the Jayhawks showed they still had some fire left, scoring a run, but Randy Boone ended the side by striking out Kansas 3B Erik Morrison on three pitches.

In the bottom of the 8th, Russell, who was 0 for 3 with a walk at that point, got back into his groove, reestablished the Horns' three-run lead by crushing the ball over the left field wall for his 10th homerun of the year.

In the top of the 9th, the Jayhawks threatened one last time by putting two runners on base, but, appropriately, the game ended on a Randy Boone strikeout.

Walker got the win, pitching two and two-thirds solid innings, giving up no earned runs and no hits while striking out two batters. McNamera got the loss, giving up three earned runs on two hits in one inning of work.

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