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Longhorns Lose 12th Straight Big 12 Baseball Series
Updated: Monday, March 17 2014, 12:23 AM CDT
The No. 10/14 Texas baseball team dropped its series finale to Kansas Sunday afternoon at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, with the Jayhawks plating five runs in the ninth to win 6-1.
The Longhorns (15-6, 1-2 Big 12) had tied the game 1-1 in the eighth inning on Mark Payton’s two-out double off the right-field wall to score Ben Johnson. Kansas, though, got a one-out double in the ninth from Ryan Padhaichuk, who advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored the go-ahead run on a squeeze bunt.
The Jayhawks (14-5, 2-1 Big 12) went on to add four more runs in the inning on just one more hit, with three walks and an error contributing to the rally.
Prior to the ninth, the game had been a pitcher’s duel much like the first two games of the series. Texas starter Nathan Thornhill was perfect through three innings and surrendered just one run in his 5 1/3, while Kansas’ Frank Duncan tossed seven shutout innings while allowing just four hits.
Kansas scored the game’s first run in the sixth, when Dakota Smith hit a two-out single to right field to score Colby Wright, who had drawn a leadoff walk from Thornhill.
Texas had opportunities in the sixth and seventh to get the tying run to the plate. Zane Gurwitz led off the sixth with a double but was stranded there after three fly-outs. In the seventh, Collin Shaw led off with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, but was thrown out at home on a groundball to short.
The Longhorns finally broke through in the eighth, when Johnson ripped an 0-2 pitch to center field with two outs. Payton followed by narrowly missing a home run to right field, and Johnson raced around from first to barely beat the throw and even the game. Texas had the chance to take the lead with Payton in scoring position, but Kansas reliever Jordan Piche’ induced a fly-out to end the threat.
Piche’ (3-0) was credited with the win after going two innings and allowing the lone run. Texas’ Morgan Cooper (2-1), who relieved Thornhill, suffered the loss after allowing three runs in the ninth.
The first five innings of the game were quick, with both starting pitchers putting up zero’s. Thornhill retired the side in order in the first, second and third, while Duncan worked 1-2-3 innings in the first, third and fifth innings.
The first leadoff man to reach base in the game was Kansas’ Justin Protacio with a single through the left side in the fourth. Protacio also became the first runner in scoring position when he moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Colby Wright.
In the bottom half of the inning, Texas got its first opportunity as Johnson led off and advanced to second on a balk. Johnson, though, was stranded there as Duncan induced a foul out and two ground outs.
In the fifth, Thornhill had to work around real trouble when he hit a batter and issued a walk with one out. After a fielder’s choice groundout and another walk loaded the bases with two outs, Thornhill got out of the inning by getting a groundout to shortstop.
Texas is back in action on Tuesday, when Dallas Baptist visits UFCU Disch-Falk Field. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.