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Texas Sweeps Houston College Classic
Updated: Monday, March 3 2014, 05:52 PM CST
The No. 15/24 Texas baseball team capped a perfect 3-0 weekend at the Houston College Classic by rallying from a two-run deficit to defeat Sam Houston State, 3-2, Sunday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.
Texas, which defeated No. 12/15 Rice on Friday and previously unbeaten Houston on Saturday, captures the Houston College Classic championship with the win. The Longhorns were the only undefeated team in a six-team field that also included TCU and Texas Tech.
The 3-0 weekend is Texas’ second at the Houston College Classic – the Longhorns also went unbeaten in 2004. This is the first time the event, dubbed the Battle for Texas this year, has named a team champion.
Trailing 2-0 after six innings, Texas (9-3) evened it with two runs in the seventh and scored what proved to be the game-winning run an inning later on a sacrifice fly by Collin Shaw. The win, Texas’ ninth in the last 10 games, marks the fifth victory this year in which the Longhorns have come from behind.
Right-handed pitcher Morgan Cooper had a stellar outing, pitching 4 1/3 shutout innings of relief and striking out a season-high five. The freshman kept Texas within striking distance by recording 1-2-3 innings in the sixth and seventh and working around a two-out triple in the eighth.
He got help, too. With two on and two out in the fifth inning, Cooper came on in relief of Travis Duke. Sam Houston State’s Carter Burgess singled through the left side, but Texas left fielder Ben Johnson charged hard, fielded it and threw a strike to home plate to nail the runner, keeping the score 2-0.
Texas had a balanced effort offensively, with eight starters recording at least one hit, and Shaw and Kacy Clemens recording two-hit days.
The Longhorns left 14 runners on base, including seven in the first three innings, but got the breakout inning they needed in the seventh when Shaw led off with an infield single. After a sacrifice bunt and a Mark Payton single to left, C.J Hinojosa laid down a sacrifice squeeze bunt to score the first run. Clemens followed with a two-out single to center field that scored Payton to even it up, 2-2.
Leading off the eighth, Jacob Felts reached base on a hard-hit ball that the Bearkats third baseman couldn’t handle, and moved to third on a single by Andy McGuire. Shaw followed with a sacrifice fly to center, giving Texas the 3-2 lead.
Cooper (1-0), who was credited with his first collegiate win, then finished it off in the bottom of the ninth. Sam Houston State reliever Jason Simms (0-1) took the loss after allowing one run in 1 1/3 innings.
Texas starting pitcher Lukas Schiraldi, who didn’t factor into the decision, responded with three shutout innings after allowing two runs (one earned) in the first. As a whole, Texas pitchers allowed just two earned runs (four runs total) in 27 innings of work on the weekend (0.67 ERA).
The Longhorns own a 2.04 staff ERA on the year, having allowed 24 earned runs in 106 innings pitched.
At the plate, Hinojosa finished the weekend 4-for-10, while Clemens was 4-for-11 with two walks.
Texas returns home Tuesday to play Valparaiso at 6 p.m. at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. The Longhorns play 13 of their next 14 games at home.