Texas Loses Series, Maybe More

The Missouri Tigers upset Texas in Austin on Sunday, 5-4, to barely keep alive their hope of knocking the Horns out of the top spot in the conference. On top of the loss, star right fielder Kyle Russell was knocked out of the game with a wrist injury.

Last season Texas fans had to endure losing outfielders Jordan Danks and Kyle Russell and it appeared they would suffer the same fate again. After losing Danks to a bruised shoulder in Saturday's game, Russell went down in the top of the sixth on Sunday when he injured his wrist diving for a ball.

But in the ninth inning, Danks returned as a pinch runner and Texas head coach Augie Garrido said he expects the Texas left fielder to return to the full lineup.

"Unless something really goofy happens, he should be back in the lineup. It's not a serious injury," said Garrido.

The jury is still out on Russell, but with two weeks until the next scheduled series, the Longhorns have time to mend.

"It's not broken," said Garrido. "This is the best time for an injury because we've got so much time off."

Missouri took two out of three from Texas on the weekend is now 8-0 in one-run ballgames this season, but Tigers head coach Tim Jamieson says another statistic is even more important to him, especially for his team's series against the Horns in Austin.

"We've won every series on the road," Jamieson told Inside Texas, "and that says a lot about this team."

Texas is still in first place in the Big 12 at 18-6 and 38-14 overall. Missouri is just behind with a 14-7 conference mark and 33-13 overall. With the win, Missouri maintains a sliver of hope to unseed Texas from the top spot in the Big 12. The Longhorns lead the Tigers by two and a half games with only three conference games remaining. With one more win or both a Missouri and an Oklahoma State loss, Texas will be guaranteed at least a share of its 74th conference title in school history.

Texas got the scoring started with a pair of RBI singles in the bottom of the first to take a 2-0 lead, but Missouri catcher Trevor Coleman answered the two Texas runs in the first with a towering solo homerun over the left field wall in the top of the second to narrow the Longorn lead to 2-1.

Austin Wood pitched a pair of scoreless innings for Texas before the game was finally evened by the Tigers in the top of the fifth on an RBI single from second baseman Brock Bond. But the top of the sixth is where things really fell apart for the Horns.

Misouri put up three runs on Texas in the sixth, two of them coming on another homer from Coleman, and the Longhorns received a scary moment when Russell, diving for a ball in the outfield, injured his right wrist.

When Texas finally got out of the inning, it was on a close call at first and Missouri first base coach Tony Vitello ran towards the ump, screaming a the top of his lungs (from my spot it looked like a good call, but it was very close). Vitello was immediatly tossed, causing Tiger coaches to pour out onto the field before everything was calmed down. Regardless of the drama, the Tigers left the top half of the six with a 5-2 lead over the Horns.

In the bottom of the seventh, after five consecutive scoreless innings for the Horns, Texas got back on the board with a solo shot over the left field wall from catcher Preston Clark, taking the score to 5-3 Missouri.

"We threatened them all game," said Garrido, "and they (Missouri) did a fantastic job of staying within themselves."

Texas continued to eat away at the Tiger lead in the bottom of the eighth. First baseman Chance Wheeless came to the plate and knocked a SAC fly to deep left-center, bringing home Travis Tucker, and it became a one-run ball game.

In the ninth, Texas came very close, putting a pair of runners on base, but with two outs, Kyle Lusson popped up to short right and the game was over.

The final conference series for the Horns is two weekends from now against Texas A&M. Friday May 18th's game will take place in College Station, while Saturday and Sunday's contest will be back home at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

"I think we need a little rest so we can focus on school," Wheeless told Inside Texas. "Once we're done with school, that's when a ballclub can really focus."

Texas still has a "To Be Announced" on the schedule for this coming Saturday, but if a suitable non-con opponent is not found, the Longhorns' only remaining regular season games will be against the Aggies.

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