Texas Wins 8-5, Sweeps Sooners

Three weeks into the Big 12 season, the Texas Longhorns were a sub-.500 club in league play. Just three weeks later, after Sunday's defeat of Oklahoma capped Texas' second consecutive series sweep, the Longhorns stand atop the conference with a 12-6 record.

Texas played two of its best games of the season in a pair of dominant wins over the Sooners on Saturday. Sunday's game wasn't nearly as pretty -- ending in an 8-5 victory for the ‘Horns -- but they got the job done.

"Yesterday was about as near perfection as a college baseball team can get for 18 innings," said Texas Head Coach Augie Garrido. "Today was very imperfect, and in some ways that's even more important because it revealed the character, the intangibles that come from a lot of hard work and unselfishness."

Starting pitcher Brandon Workman failed to get past four innings for the fourth consecutive start. The hard-throwing righty fanned six in 3.1 innings, but he surrendered five runs -- three earned -- on seven hits.

While the Sooners were able to grab an early lead against Workman, the Texas offense went to work against OU starter Garrett Richards.

The Longhorns scored four third-inning runs with the benefit of four walks and a Connor Rowe two-RBI single. The Sooners struggled with control all day, walking nine batters, including seven from Richards in only 2.2 innings.

The game was back-and-forth early on. With a 5-5 tie through four innings, the ‘Horns appeared to be headed for a rare high-scoring affair.

UT broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth when the red-hot Michael Torres smoked a two-run triple into right-center field, giving the ‘Horns a 7-5 lead. On the very next pitch, Brandon Belt extended the lead with a sacrifice fly, bringing Torres in to score.

Despite a slow start at the plate, Torres is second on the club with a .343 batting average in Big 12 games. The senior believes the key to his recent success has simply been luck.

"I think balls have started to fall for me," Torres said. "I have felt really good at the plate almost all year, and I was hitting a lot of stuff. That Texas Tech weekend, it just happened to where guys made good plays."

Once the offense did its job, the Longhorns' excellent pitching and defense went back to work. Freshman right-hander Taylor Jungmann lowered his earned-run average to 1.10 after tossing 4.1 innings of shutout relief. The tall hurler scattered five hits and fanned three without issuing a walk.

Because of Oklahoma's 6:30 p.m. flight out of Austin, a travel curfew was put on the game, stating that no inning could begin after 4:15. The Longhorns were batting in the bottom of the eighth when 4:15 rolled around, and the game was over after eight innings.

With its new first-place standing, Texas controls its own destiny for a Big 12 regular season crown. But the road won't be easy. The Longhorns face another top 25 opponent in the surprising Kansas State Wildcats before finishing the year with in-state rivals Baylor and Texas A&M.

"We've got to get back to work this week," said senior closer Austin Wood, who recorded his 10th save on Sunday. "We've got Rice on Tuesday and a big series against Kansas State this upcoming weekend. We need to get better, learn from our mistakes, and just keep playing."

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