Horn Bats Remain Hot In Chilly Kansas

After Kansas beat Kansas Wesleyan on Wednesday in (relatively) frigid conditions in Lawrence, Jayhawks head coach Ritch Price, looking ahead to his team's three-game set with the Longhorns in chilly Hoglund Ballpark, said, "I don't think those Texas boys like the cold weather too much." Price may want to rethink his assessment of the Horns' cold weather tolerance.

Texas (27-9, 8-2) totaled 14 hits and 11 runs Thursday afternoon despite the un-Austin-like conditions to earn an 11-6 series opening win over Kansas (17-19, 3-7). The Horns got contributions from up and down the line-up. All but two Texas starters collected at least one base hit, with Jordan Danks, Chance Wheeless, Kyle Russell and Josh Prince hitting safely twice, and Nick Peoples just a triple short of hitting for the cycle.

Peoples' home run to lead off the eighth triggered a five-run explosion in the inning that proved to be the margin of victory.

"I think we do have good offensive team," Augie Garrido told A.M. 1300 the Zone after his team's 12th double-digit scoring performance of the season.

James Russell picked up his seventh win of the season after going six full, giving up four earned runs on five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Texas jumped on Kansas starter Nick Czyz in the top of the first when Bradley Suttle's single scored Wheeless, but Kansas took a brief lead in the home half of the second with a two-spot off of James Russell. The Horns got two back in the top of the third on a Wheeless double, a Kyle Russell RBI single (with an advance to third on a fielding error by Kansas RF Brock Simpson) and a Suttle RBI groundout.

Texas extended its lead to 5-2 in the fifth powered by doubles from Wheeless and Preston Clark and an RBI groundout by Travis Tucker, but the Jayhawks matched that in the bottom of the inning with a two-run blast by Simpson to narrow the UT advantage to 5-4.

The Horns added a single run in the sixth when Danks singled in Peoples, but blew it open in the eighth. After Peoples' first homer of the season to lead off the frame, Texas sent eight men to the plate, scoring four more before Peoples' flied out in his second at-bat of the inning to send it to the bottom of the eighth with the Horns comfortably on top 11-4.

In the home half of the eighth, Kansas loaded the bases with no outs on a single, a walk and a hit batsmen off of Keith Shinaberry, who had relieved Russell to begin the seventh, but could only push across two runs when Shinaberry forced a sac flyout before Randy Boone relieved and forced another sac flyout before striking out Preston Land to end the Jayhawks' final big-inning threat.

Game two of the three-game series is scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m. Texas ace Adrian Alaniz (8-1, 1.75 ERA) is scheduled for the start vs. KU lefty Zach Ashwood (3-3, 5.89 ERA).

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