Horns Lose, Huskers Advance to Title Game

For the second time this season, the Longhorns struggled with the Cornhuskers. Nebraska (42-14) defeated Texas (40-19), 6-5, to secure a spot in the Big 12 Championship game in the first year of round robin play.

It was a tale of two games.

The first three innings of Saturday's game were an offensive showcase similar to the Longhorns' previous game, a 16-8 win over Baylor. With the score tied at 5 after only three, Texas and Nebraska were on pace to cover the scoreboard at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City with runs.

But, seemingly simultaneously, the pitchers for each team turned it on and turned it into a very different game. Kyle McCulloch, who had given up five runs in the second inning, held the Cornhuskers scoreless all the way to the seventh inning. Nebraska's Johnny Dorn was pulled after two and a third innings and replaced by Tony Watson. Watson (10-1) gave up only four hits and no runs in his five and a third shutout innings, getting the win for the Cornhuskers.

"You have to have a whole different mentality as a starter and start up from the get-go, but as a reliever starting in the dugout I had to put up a big stop for us and just go out there and play," said Watson.

Texas first baseman Chance Wheeless was impressed with the Nebraska pitcher's performance.

"Watson was throwing harder, especially since he's a left-hander like that it's going to throw off the hitter, but I think Watson did an excellent job coming in today," said Wheeless. "That was pretty amazing on his part."

Austin Wood (4-3) got the loss. Wood officially pitched zero innings as he was unable to get any runners out in his short stint in the seventh inning. Nebraska scored one run off of Wood on three hits.

Wood was pulled to allow Joseph Krebs to face Nebraska's Jake Opitz in a lefty-lefty match-up. Krebs got Opitz to hit a roller back to the mound, but the ball took a hop and the Cornhusker reached on the error.

Krebs was then replaced by Randy Boone who entered the game in a jam: bases loaded, no outs. But Boone struckout Nebraska catcher Jeff Christy, then got DH Nick Sullivan to hit into a double play to end the side. The Longhorns only gave up one run in the inning, but, unfortunately for Texas, that's all the Huskers would need. Nebraska pitchers Watson and Brett Jenson combined to keep the Horns scoreless for the final two innings, including a three-up, three-down ninth.

Despite the loss, Texas is likely in position to receive a top eight bid in the NCAA tournament. Even if the Horns don't get it, Texas head coach Augie Garrido believes that someone from the Big 12 should be in that spot.

"I think we made a good case to be the number one team in the conference," said Garrido. "I believe that we should have at least one team from the conference in the top eight."

The Big 12 Championship Game will be on Sunday at 1 p.m. Nebraska will take on the winner of the Kansas-Missouri game.

Horns Digest Top Stories