TULSA, Okla. — After a three-run homer knotted the game at three apiece in the top of the ninth, the Texas Baseball team rallied for a 4-3 walk-off victory over the Baylor Bears in the bottom half courtesy of a two out, bases loaded single from Tres Barrera to score Bret Boswell Thursday evening in the Big 12 Tournament.
The win moves Texas (28-25) to 2-0 in the tournament, just one win away from Sunday's championship game. The Longhorns await the winner of tomorrow's Baylor vs. Texas Tech matchup for a Saturday morning showdown at 9 a.m.
Junior left-hander Ty Culbreth spun 8 1/3 scoreless innings before a three-run home run from Baylor's Mitch Price knotted the score at 3-3 in the top of the ninth, seemingly giving the Bears all the momentum. However Culbreth retired the next two hitters to giving Texas an opportunity to win it in its half.
The Horns did just that, as Boswell singled and Ben Johnson and C.J Hinojosa walked, coupled with two fly outs loaded the bases with two down for Barrera, who smashed an 0-1 offering into left field for the game winner.
Culbreth (4-4) was brilliant all afternoon long on the mound, delivering Texas' second-consecutive complete game. His final line for the day read nine innings, five hits, three runs, three walks and six strikeouts. Prior to the beginning of the Big 12 Tournament, UT had not had a pitcher go the distance all season. It marked the first time Texas got back-to-back complete game pitching performances since April 23-24, 2010, when Taylor Jungmann and Cole Green did it vs. Oklahoma State.
The complete game marked a career high in innings pitched for Culbreth in what was just his fourth career start, and his six punch outs match his personal best. He was dominant throughout, allowing just one runner to reach second base prior to the ninth inning, that one coming in the top of the first.
Barrera's walk-off rope was part of a 2-for-5 day at the plate that included a double and a run scored in addition to the RBI single. Collin Shaw also had a single, double, an RBI and a run scored in the contest. The double was his team-leading 19th of the season.
Zane Gurwitz had a three hit day at the plate while also scoring a run. He is now 5-for-7 in the Big 12 Tournament with two runs scored, an RBI, a double and a walk. Boswell, Joe Baker and Brooks Marloweach added two hit games, with Marlow driving in a run.
Baylor's Drew Tolson (3-8) took the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) over his 8 2/3 innings pitched. The loss drops Baylor to 22-31 on the season and places it in a win or go home matchup with Texas Tech tomorrow at 3:15 p.m.
The Horns jumped out front 2-0 in the bottom of the second inning. Barrera led the frame off with a double to right center field and came around to score following a wild pitch and sacrifice bunt from Shaw.
Gurwitz then reached on a fielding error and Marlow singled through the right side to put runners on the corners for Kacy Clemens, who grounded out to first, allowing Gurwitz to score the second run.
The starters then traded zeros until the bottom of the sixth when Texas extended the lead to 3-0 courtesy of consecutive one-out singles from Gurwitz, Shaw and Marlow respectively. UT had a chance to push the lead further, but Tolson got a strikeout and a pop out to keep the margin at three, where it would remain until the top of the ninth.
Culbreth looked poised to polish off a complete game shutout in the ninth, but a one out walk and single set the stage for Price, who delivered the three-run bomb out to right field on an 0-2 pitch to tie the game at 3-3.
Culbreth settled down though as consecutive groundouts ended the inning for the Bears, setting the stage for the heroics in Texas' half of the frame.
Head Coach Augie Garrido
Opening Statement: "We have to start with the pitching. We got a great game last night out of Parker French, which was needed to help our pitching staff get thru this. Then we had another one today by Ty Culbreth. Those two complete games give us a much better chance to be successful in this tournament. It gives us a real good chance to get thru this with quality pitching. I thought the team played very well defensively behind them. We didn't give up free bases or extra outs within the framework of an inning. That makes it a lot more fun for the pitcher. Tres was really focused behind the plate. He called most of the game himself and for Ty, they've worked together a lot over the last couple years. Ty found his rhythm in the third or fourth inning and worked it like the way you wanted it to go.
[The home run] couldn't be any better place if it was shot out of a cannon and it found its way into home run territory and the game was tied. That set the stage for [Bret] Boswell to get a double, then they worked around C.J [Hinojosa] and we had the bases loaded. Up comes the hero, Tres Barrera takes the right handed batters box and swings thru the first change up. I went out and talked to him and I told him a dirty joke in Spanish. Apparently, it fired him up. Then he took a change up and lined for a base hit, the game-winner. A very exciting game."
On why he called timeout to talk to Tres Barrera: "Because he swung through a change up and he swung for a home run. He's a very powerful person by personality and by body type. When you have adrenaline rushing like that and your excited and the whole team is relying on you. He knows and feels that. It wasn't anything I said. It was what he did. He calmed himself down and made an adjustment. He just stayed with the process"
On leaving in Ty Culbreth after the game-tying home run: "You hear him getting back to the process itself. That's why he was so successful. Both of our pitchers stayed within the framework of the process itself and didn't worry about the results. It takes maturity to be able to get to that point. Otherwise, your nerves drive you. The Baylor pitcher darn near did the same thing. Both pitchers were very good."
Jr. LHP Ty Culbreth
On pitching a complete game: "Once we got to the six and seventh I knew I had a chance. I was in a groove. I felt good, but I try to keep it as simple as possible. I just try and stick with Tres pitch by pitch and execute every pitch."
On the getting out of the first inning: "That was huge. I could have easily crumbled and we were down, but Tres calmed me down and we talked about it. Fortunately, we got out of the inning with no runs. That's a game changer to set the tone."
On giving up the game-tying home run in the ninth: "Tres called a fastball off the plate and it definitely caught some of the plate. Credit to [Mitch Price] for going out there and getting it. I can't do anything about that, it's over with. I got to go on to the next pitch, get ahead and get back in the dugout with us tied and give the team a chance to win. I did and Tres came through for me."
So. C Tres Barrera
On his game-winning single: "I've been in that situation a lot this year. I've been up with the bases loaded against West Virginia to win the game and wasn't successful. Those things stick in your head when you come up. I came up this time telling myself that I've been here before and I'm going to do it right here. If you stay positive, good things will happen."
- Culbreth's complete game on the hill marked Texas' second consecutive complete game after Parker French's performance in yesterday's 2-1 victory over Texas Tech. Texas entered the Big 12 Tournament without a complete game all season. It is the first time Texas got back-to-back complete game pitching performances since April 23-24, 2010, when Taylor Jungmann and Cole Green did it vs. Oklahoma State.
- The nine-inning performance from Culbreth was a career high in innings pitched, in what was just his fourth career start. His previous high was six innings, coming in each of his previous two starts.
- The junior lefty also matched a career high with six strikeouts in today's contest while not allowing a runner to reach second base from the second through eighth innings.
- A ninth inning intentional walk extended Johnson's reached base streak to 15 games.
- Gurwitz's 3-for-4 performance moved him to 5-for-7 in the Big 12 Tournament. He now has 10 multi-hit games on the season.
- Baker, Barrera, Shaw, Marlow and Boswell also collected multiple hits in today's contest, giving the Horns 123 multi-hit games this season (2.3 per game)
- Hinojosa's team-high six-game hit streak came to an end today, but a ninth inning walk extended his reached base streak to 10 games.
- With his two hits today, Baker now has a team-high six game streak.
- Shaw roped his team-leading 19th double in the contest (2nd most in Big 12). He now has a team high 26 extra base hits on the year.
- The win was Texas' third walk-off of the season (2/25 vs. UTPA & 3/13 vs. WVU) and was Barrera's first career walk-off.
- The Longhorns played error-free defense for the 23rd game this season (third consecutive) and own a 16-7 record in those games.
- Two of Texas' four runs today and three of its six runs in the tournament have come on something other than a base hit (error, sacrifice bunt, fielder's choice).
- The Longhorns improved to 7-9 in one-run games and have won three of their last four by a single run.