Longhorns Take Two from Sooners

Friday night's rainout may have postponed the inevitable. Texas entered Saturday's doubleheader with a 15-1 record against OU over their last 16 contests in Austin, and Texas swept the Sooners again today. The Longhorns took game one, 7-3, and the second, 6-2. Longhorn closer Austin Wood pitched a total of 4.2 innings while closing out the Sooners in both games.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

At least that's the case in baseball's version of the Red River Rivalry.

The Sooners haven't taken a series from the Longhorns since 1998, and Texas entered Saturday's doubleheader with a 15-1 record against OU over their last 16 contests in Austin.

But this weekend was supposed to be different. Oklahoma entered Saturday's action atop the Big 12 with an 8-4 record in league play and a top-ten national ranking from Baseball America.

As it turned out, with a season-high crowd of 7,531 on hand, Texas picked up a pair of dominating wins over the Sooners, vaulting the ‘Horns to the top of the Big 12 standings for the first time this season.

The Longhorns took game one, 7-3, behind the combination of starting pitcher Chance Ruffin and an opportunistic offense.

Texas jumped on Oklahoma early with a five-run second inning, headlined by shortstop Brandon Loy's two-RBI double. The ‘Horns piled on a couple more runs in the frame by taking advantage of two OU errors.

While the Sooners gave the Longhorns extra opportunities at times, Texas played clean baseball all day. Head Coach Augie Garrido believes that was one of the differences.

"This is a very well-coached, very fine Oklahoma baseball team," Garrido said. "We just didn't give them any bases. We didn't give them extra outs all day long. That's the secret of getting control of this game."

Once the offense took control, Ruffin went to work. The sophomore right-hander fanned eight batters in the first four innings, and he finished the game with 10 strikeouts, just one shy of his career high. In all, Ruffin limited the heavy-hitting Oklahoma offense to three runs in 6.1 innings.

After the second inning, the game was relatively uneventful until the top of the seventh. Although OU scored just one run in the frame, the game began to get a bit chippy.

Oklahoma DH Cameron Seitzer doubled home a run in the seventh, cutting the Texas lead to 6-3. But Garrido felt Seitzer had too much pine tar on the bat, and he brought the issue to the umpiring crew. What followed was a few minutes of confusion, but they eventually allowed the hit -- and run -- to stand.

"What they had going on was the bat had pine tar and there's a limit to the height of the pine tar," said Garrido. "The rule used to be that it was an out. But they went in and took a look at the rule book and there has been a rule change. They modified the rule since the last time I came into contact with it.

"The umpires did a good job of taking their time to find out how the rule read. They weren't guessing at it, they weren't denying it. They went in and found out and got it right."

Three batters later, with the bases loaded and just one out, OU pinch runner Tyson Seng was called out after interfering with the Longhorns shortstop. Sooners Head Coach Sonny Galloway vehemently disagreed with the call, and he was ejected after a long argument.

The inning ended one batter later with a harmless fielder's choice, but baserunner Jamie Johnson slid hard into second baseman Travis Tucker -- too hard for Tucker's liking. As both players ran off the field, words were exchanged and both benches cleared. However, the scrum never escalated beyond words. When the dust had settled, Johnson and catcher J.T. Wise were also ejected.

Senior closer Austin Wood came on to get the final two outs of the seventh, and as he's done for the ‘Horns all season long, he shut the door in the eighth and ninth. Wood helped lock up the victory by striking out three without giving up a hit in 2.2 total innings.

Game two was much of the same for the Longhorns. Texas jumped out to an early lead by torching OU starter Stephen Porlier for three runs on seven hits in just 1.2 innings.

Texas starter Cole Green wasn't on top of his game, and despite needing 82 pitches to complete 4.1 innings, he battled and limited Oklahoma to one run.

The Sooners stayed within striking distance until the bottom of the fifth, when Cameron Rupp hit a monumental blast for a two-run homer, putting Texas up 6-1. OU left fielder Casey Johnson knew the ball was gone off the bat -- he simply turned around and watched the ball fly over the fence. So did Rupp.

"I knew it was gone," he said. "He threw one earlier in the count -- a breaking ball. It hung and I should have hit that. I got on myself and a couple pitches later he threw it again and I got it."

Despite throwing 45 pitches in game one, Austin Wood came on for the final two innings of the nightcap. Wood was extremely sharp, striking out four and keeping the Sooners off the board, preserving Texas' 6-2 victory.

"The weird thing is that every time I've done that," said Wood when asked about pitching both ends of a doubleheader, "I feel a lot better in the second game for some reason. Even though I was extended today, my arm felt better and looser. I just made the pitches, I got the outs, and I got my job done."

After Saturday's games, the Longhorns have the Big 12 lead to themselves, with an 11-6 conference record. The formerly first-place Sooners dropped to 8-6.

As winners of nine consecutive games -- including four over ranked opponents -- Texas is beginning to feel confident for the first time in awhile.

"We're comfortable," Rupp said. "Everything is working on all cylinders -- hitting, pitching, and defense. It's awesome. Couldn't be any better."

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