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Walk-Off Win Extends Payton's Streak
Updated: Saturday, April 5 2014, 09:21 PM CDT
Trailing Baylor 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning, down to its last strike with the bases loaded and two outs, Mark Payton ripped a three-run double to lift the No. 8/9 Texas baseball team to a 5-4, walk-off win over the Bears Friday night at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
The Longhorns trailed 4-2 entering the bottom of the ninth, but loaded the bases on Baylor closer Josh Michalec, who had been a perfect 11 for 11 in saves this year. Payton worked the count full, then doubled down the left field line with the runners moving. Brooks Marlow, who had drawn a walk to load the bases, came all the way around from first to score the game-winning run.
Prior to Marlow's walk, Madison Carter led off the inning by reaching on an error and Zane Gurwitz singled on an 0-2 count to set the stage for Payton. Payton, who was 0-for-4 before the game-winning double, extended his NCAA best reached-base streak to 70 games as Texas got its ninth win in the last 10 games.
It marked the second straight dramatic conference win for Texas (24-7, 4-3 Big 12), which defeated Texas Tech 5-2 in 12 innings last Sunday.
The Longhorns, who entered the game having scored 69 of their 138 runs with two outs this season, scored all five with two outs on Friday to earn their third walk-off win of the year.
Texas reliever Travis Duke, who pitched the final 1 1/3 innings, picked up the win to improve to 2-0 on the year. Michalec (0-3), who surrendered three runs – all of which were unearned after a Baylor error to start the ninth inning, took the loss.
Baylor starter Brad Kuntz kept Texas off balance for the first eight innings, allowing just two runs on four hits while striking out five and walking three. Kuntz was at his best in tight spots, stranding six Longhorns in scoring position on the evening.
The Longhorns struck with a run in the second inning, with Madison Carter driving in Tres Barrera on a two-out single to right field.
Texas added to its lead in the third, with Brooks Marlow leading off the inning with a double and later scoring from third on a wild pitch with two outs.
Baylor had an opportunity to take the lead in the fourth, when it loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. Texas starter Parker French, though, induced a 6-4-3 double play and a 5-3 groundout to limit the Bears to one run.
An inning later, the Bears came through with two runs to go ahead 3-2. After a leadoff walk, Baylor put on the hit-and-run and Lawton Langford double to right-center field to tie it up. A sacrifice bunt and strikeout made it two outs in the inning, but Adam Toth singled through the right side to bring in the run.
Payton prevented further damage in the inning, throwing out Toth at home after Duncan Wendel singled.
The Bears made it 4-2 in the eighth, when Aaron Dodson hit a liner to left field that Ben Johnson appeared to lose in the lights. The play went for a triple, and Dodson scored on a single from Darryn Sheppard.
Game two of the series is set for 7 p.m. Saturday evening.