By Steve Lansdale
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma State Cowboys entered the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship seeded sixth, and eighth, respectively in the conference’s eight-team bracket. By Sunday’s championship game, they were the last two teams standing and battled through a title game befitting the intensity of the tournament, a showdown won by OSU, 6-5.
Texas head coach David Pierce said that while disappointed, he was encouraged by his team’s performance.
“Our kids played with a lot of grit and determination,” Pierce said. “We weren’t perfect on that day, but at the same time, I’m really proud of the way our team played as a team and as a unit, so just a great job of competing all day, from the very beginning until the last pitch.
“We had a lot of runners and had a situation where we had bases loaded and Kody (Clemens) hits a line-drive double play, and that could have been two, maybe three more runs.”
Texas scored first. Outfielder Travis Jones was hit by a pitch and then stole second before scoring on a single by Kacy Clemens, who subsequently scored on a single by Bret Boswell.
After OSU cut the margin in half with a run in the top of the third, the Longhorns added another run in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI single by Kody Clemens that drove in Boswell.
Oklahoma State responded with three runs of its own in the fourth and then tacked on a run in in the sixth and seventh innings to stretch its lead to 6-3.
Texas rallied in the seventh when outfielder Zane Gurwitz drove in Kacy Clemens with a single, after which Ryan Reynolds singled to right to score Boswell. But that was the last run the Longhorns would score.
Pierce commended his team, and said the game, despite the final score, bodes well for the future.
“We had some great efforts out of the bullpen and played solid defense, for the most part,” Pierce said. “Sure, we struggled a little bit, but I’m very proud of our team. This is a young team that has very little experience in the postseason, so this builds us for our regional play next week.”
That would be all the offense Texas could muster on the afternoon and the Longhorns fell, 6-5.
Morgan Cooper started for the Longhorns, allowing three hits and a run before giving way to five relievers. Connor Mayes allowed just one hit but was charged with three earned runs and took the loss, dropping his season record to 1-2.
Kacy Clemens and shortstop David Hamilton were named to the all-tournament team.[/s2If]