Big 12 Tournament Live Blog: Day Two

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - Two games will be played during Thursday's second day of the 2009 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship. Burnt Orange Beat's Jason Cole is on-hand to provide live coverage of all games throughout the week.

Game 5: Texas 9 - Kansas - 3 - FINAL

6:59 p.m. - After using seven pitchers in their loss to Baylor on Wednesday, the Longhorns entered Thursday's game knowing they needed to save the bullpen.

Chance Ruffin delivered, tossing a 129-pitch complete game.

"Yesterday, we kind of had Johnny Allstaff pitching," said Ruffin. "Today my motivation was keeping guys in the bullpen and saving arms for the Saturday game. I wanted us to use less today and come out with a win."

Texas entered the Big 12 Tournament as nearly a lock to pick up a top eight national seed, but Wednesday's victory likely sealed it up for good. Texas coach Augie Garrido was happy to pick up at least one victory.

"The only thing we could have done in this tournament that would have turned the committee's head," he said, "would have been if we had lost all three games."

But he's also looking for one more.

"If we win the Saturday game," Garrido continued, "even if things don't go right and put us into the final game, I think we will have walked away doing ourselves some good."

Texas will need a Kansas State victory over Baylor in order to keep their championship game hopes alive. If K-State does prevail tonight, Texas must defeat the Wildcats on Saturday afternoon to advance to the Big 12 title game.

5:27 p.m. - Chance Ruffin retired the side in order in the ninth to get the complete game. He threw 129 pitches and helped save a Longhorns bullpen that was taxed quite a bit during yesterday's game.

5:23 p.m. - Kansas just turned its first triple play since 1999. Travis Tucker, who has had a rough day at the plate, lined out to shortstop, then Narodowski tossed the ball to the second baseman, who fired it to first and nailed both runners.

5:21 p.m. - Bochy is getting into trouble in the top of the ninth. Connor Rowe led off the frame with a double, then Tim Maitland—who entered as a defensive replacement for Hernandez in left—poked an RBI single into center. Michael Torres just worked a walk, putting men on first and second with nobody out.

5:15 p.m. - Kansas came back to score two runs, as Ruffin got into really his first big jam of the day. The starter walked Preston Land to begin the eighth, then nine-hole hitter Nick Faunce tripled to left-center field. He later scored on a passed ball. But Ruffin retired the next three hitters, and Texas is up 8-3 going to the ninth.

Ruffin has thrown 121 pitches in his eight innings, and Austin Dicharry and Austin Wood are both throwing in the UT bullpen.

4:58 p.m. - Ruffin surrendered a double to All-Big 12 third baseman Tony Thompson, but he didn't yield anything else in the seventh. He has now thrown given up one run on three hits in seven frames, throwing 99 pitches. There is no action in the Longhorns bullpen as of right now.

4:50 p.m. - Bochy fanned pinch-hitter Preston Clark to end the three-hitter, three-pitcher inning.

4:47 p.m. - Blankenship faced one hitter, throwing one pitch. He got Belt to pop out to shortstop.

Now pitching is righty Brett Bochy, the son of San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy. The reliever is 5-0 with a 5.12 ERA. He has 50 strikeouts in 31.2 innings this season.

4:43 p.m. - Left-hander Travis Blankenship comes on for Kansas with one out and nobody on in the seventh. In 35.1 innings this year, he has a 5.09 ERA while allowing 34 hits, walking 14 and fanning 35.

4:41 p.m. - Longhorns starter Chance Ruffin had to labor through the bottom of the sixth, but he didn't allow a runner to get past first base. The sophomore walked the leadoff man, then got a flyout, a groundout to second, and a groundout to first. Texas leads 8-1 through six.

4:22 p.m. - Preston Land made a bid for a two-run homer, but the ball died on the warning track in dead center field. Ruffin gets out of it with no damage done, and Texas holds an 8-1 lead through five innings.

Right-hander Brett Bollman will replace Walz in the sixth. He is 5-0 with a 3.10 ERA in 52.1 innings this year. He has alowed 50 hits, walked just five and struck out 35.

4:14 p.m. - Texas pushed across one more run on a Brandon Loy sacrifice fly. Longhorns lead it 8-1 in the bottom of the fifth. Walz remained in the game for Kansas, though reliever Brett Bollman was warming in the bullpen.

4:07 p.m. - A bit of controversy here. Russell Moldenhauer hit a popup to shallow left field, causing SS Narodowski, 2B Price and LF Lytle to converge. They collided, but, on replay, it appeared one of the fielders caught the ball. Still, the umpires ruled it dropped and Moldenhauer stands at first with Belt on second.

And now a wild pitch has moved Belt to third and Moldenhauer to second with one out.

4:04 p.m. - Torres is now 3-for-3 after leading off the fifth with a double to left-center field. Belt drove him home with a hard single to right field, and Texas now leads 7-1.

Walz hadn't allowed more than four earned runs in a game this season prior to today. All seven of the runs today are earned.

3:58 p.m. - The rest of the inning was busy for Texas first baseman Brandon Belt. Belt fielded two ground balls and caught a popup in foul territory. Texas has a 6-1 lead through four frames.

3:55 p.m. - Kansas gets its first baserunner of the game on a David Narodowski solo home run. It was his second of the tournament and fifth of the year. Ruffin had retired the game's first nine batters.

3:51 p.m. - Walz gets out of the top of the fourth by striking out Connor Rowe and getting Hernandez to fly out to right-center field. Hernandez made a bid for his first extra-base hit of the season, but KU right fielder Brian Heere made a nice running catch.

3:48 p.m. - Cameron Rupp broke out of his slump by crushing a three-run homer to the berm in right-center field. That ball went about 410-415 feet. It was a great at-bat for Rupp, as he took the count to 3-2 and fouled off a number of pitches before finding one he liked. Texas now leads 6-0 in the fourth.

3:43 p.m. - Cleanup hitter Russell Moldenhauer entered the game hitting just .236 on the season, but he started a UT rally with a single to left-center field. After a Kevin Keyes walk, Brandon Loy—the hottest hitter on Texas' club—laced an RBI single into right-center.

Texas now leads 3-0 with men on the corners and one out for Cameron Rupp.

3:34 p.m. - Ruffin had his best stuff yet in the bottom of the third, getting a groundout and two strikeouts. He fanned Preston Land on a good 81 mph slider before getting Nick Faunce on a 73 mph overhand curveball. Ruffin doesn't throw a whole lot of curveballs.

3:28 p.m. - Michael Torres got his second single in the game, but he was doubled off on a Travis Tucker ground ball, and the Longhorns go down in order once again. 2-0 Longhorns to the bottom of the third.

3:22 p.m. - Ruffin got a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the second, but Tony Thompson and Casey Lytle hit their balls fairly hard. Lytle hit the ball to left fielder David Hernandez.

Although this is Hernandez's third game in left field, the two fly balls to him thus far are the first two balls that he's had to field. Hernandez didn't take the best route to Lytle's ball, but he recovered in time to make a nice catch in the left-center field gap.

3:16 p.m. - The Longhorns follow by going down in order in the top of the second. Walz got a couple of flyouts from Brandon Loy and Cameron Rupp before striking out Connor Rowe.

3:11 p.m. - Chance Ruffin looked good in the bottom of the first, retiring the side in order. He got a flyout, a strikeout looking on a slider, and a groundout. 2-0 Texas through one full inning.

3:04 p.m. - And three batters in, Brandon Belt starts the scoring. Belt hit a two-run homer to right field, giving Texas a 2-0 lead. The round-tripper is his second in as many Big 12 games.

2:55 p.m. - Kansas will be the home team in this game. The Jayhawks dropped yesterday's game to K-State, while the Longhorns lost to Baylor. This game is basically an elimination game, as whoever loses cannot qualify for Sunday's championship game.

2:50 p.m. - We're going to get underway here in just a few minutes. Texas will be searching for its first victory of the year against the state of Kansas. Texas sends ace Chance Ruffin to the mound, and the Jayhawks counter with their best pitcher, T.J. Walz.

When the Longhorns faced Walz earlier this season, he went 5.1 innings, giving up three runs on six hits. Ruffin surrendered five runs in 7.1 innings against KU in his start. Walz is 8-1 on the year with a 3.50 ERA, while Ruffin is 8-2 with a 2.96.

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