Horns Close Out Regular Season with Sweep

The Texas Longhorns closed out their regular season on Sunday afternoon with a doubleheader sweep of the Alabama A&M Bulldogs. Burnt Orange Beat reports from the game.

The ‘Horns won the games 5-1 and 9-3, respectively, and both games were similar. The Texas pitching—led by Chance Ruffin and Taylor Jungmann—set the tone while the Bulldogs arms constantly fell behind in the count.

Texas had just 14 hits in the two games, but they scored a total of 14 runs. Texas Coach Augie Garrido says it can be tougher to hit when the other team isn't throwing strikes.

"We only had five or six hits [in the second game]," Garrido said, "but we really were opportunistic and we did a good job of separating balls from strikes. Sometimes it is harder to hit when you can't get your rhythm and timing on a pitcher that is not throwing strikes.

"It's not all about hitting. It's really about run scoring and I thought we did a good job of that."

Alabama A&M nearly took an early lead in game one, when Ruffin loaded the bases with two outs. The sophomore righty gave up two singles and then walked third baseman Kency Duarte. But he got a weak groundout to end the threat, and the Longhorns offense quickly went to work.

Michael Torres led off the Texas first with a double to left field. He then stole third as Travis Tucker walked. First baseman Brandon Belt reached on a run-scoring fielder's choice, and the Longhorns had a 1-0 lead three batters into the game.

They wouldn't look back.

Texas led off its three-run fifth with yet another Torres double, giving him eight on the season. Tucker, Belt and Kevin Keyes all followed with singles to bring home the three runs.

In a tune-up for a likely start on Thursday afternoon, Chance Ruffin pitched four scoreless innings, allowing just two hits. He threw 49 pitches, 35 of which were within the strike zone.

The second game was basically a nine-inning version of the first. Torres was hit by a pitch to lead off the game for the ‘Horns, then Travis Tucker hit a sacrifice bunt that advanced the hustling Torres to third base. Brandon Belt poked a sacrifice fly into the outfield and—once again—the Longhorns led just three batters into the game.

UT plated four third-inning runs on just a pair of hits. Torres and Tucker led off the frame with walks, Belt reached on a run-scoring error, and freshman cleanup hitter Kevin Lusson hammered a two-run double into right-center field.

In all, Texas would score nine runs on just six hits in the nightcap with the help of five Alabama A&M errors, five walks and two hit batters.

The day belonged to right-hander Taylor Jungmann, who looked like he could be up to something special.

Jungmann retired the game's first 15 hitters, taking a perfect game into the sixth inning. As it was, the only baserunner he allowed was on a weak tapper behind the mound that went for an infield single.

The freshman ended up pitching six shutout innings, yielding one hit, walking none and striking out 10 batters.

"It was good to see Jungmann come out there and do what he did," said Pitching Coach Skip Johnson. "He really dominated the game and dealt with it pitch-by-pitch and tried to stay within the target. He tried to be as competitive as he can be."

Johnson says Jungmann was only scheduled for five innings, but they weren't about to mess with perfection.

"We had him penciled in for five," he said. "And this his pitch count was at 51 going into the sixth. We were just trying to get him 70 or 75 pitches. Of course, if he has a perfect game going there, you want to let him try and finish it out."

Texas put the capper on the game when Torres led off the eighth inning with a solo home run, his second of the season.

The senior third baseman led off five different innings in the doubleheader. He was 3-for-3 with two doubles, one home run, one walk and a hit-by-pitch. After finals week, Torres says he was just happy to be focusing on baseball.

"Academically, it's always nice to be done with school," he said. "My last test was last ween and I had a paper due on Tuesday. After that, I've been done. It has been nice to just kind of concentrate on baseball. I think everyone is pretty grateful."

With the regular season completed, the Longhorns will take on the eighth-seeded Baylor Bears at the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. Central. Cole Green is likely to get the start for the Longhorns.

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