We won't pretend to an all-out analysis of the Thursday-Saturday baseball series that the Longhorns won in Lawrence this weekend; for that, visit the official Texas Sports website; that is, if it isn't down again.
But, this guy was fortunate enough to be visiting Middle Bro, who attends KU, and thus got to go to the rubber game on Saturday (as well as the ugly last couple of innings on Friday). The KU starting pitcher, Andy Marks, was very impressive Saturday, throwing a confusing mix of junk that had Horns' hitters frustrated most of the afternoon. It was a good enough performance to make a casual observer wonder why the Jayhawks haven't won more games this season. But, the Longhorns uncharacteristically won the game via the long ball. Nick Peoples started it off with a solo shot. Then, the very powerful Kyle Russell joined in the party--first with a 3-run dinger to give Texas a 4-0 lead, then with a solo bomb of his own to tie the game at 5-5. The game-winning run came on an RBI double off the center field wall by Russell Moldenhauer in the top of the 8th, after he had fouled off 2 bunt attempts. Hmmm...small ball, huh?
Kyle's second dinger tied him with Jeff Ontiveros for the Texas all-time single season home run record with 20 for the year. Ontiveros set the record in the CWS championship season of 2002 in which he played 72 games. Kyle tied the record playing in just 38 games and with at least 21 games remaining in the season (going out on a limb to say this Horns team will at least make the NCAA tournament). Consider that the Longhorns have been playing baseball for quite a while and historically Texas has had one of the top programs in college baseball, all which makes Kyle's season all the more spectacular. Hopefully we'll get to see Kyle hit a few monster shots out of Omaha in a few months.
Joseph Krebs pitched admirably, but the Texas gloves left something to be desired. Kansas put together a game-tying 4-run rally in the bottom of the 5th. However, it should be noted that all 4 runs were unearned because, with the bases loaded and 2 outs, second baseman Travis Tucker committed a fielding error that allowed the inning to continue and the first run to score. Tucker seemed to be in a hurry to field the ball and tag the runner headed to second, but with 2 out all he needed to do was sit back and make the easy play to first. So, Krebs did not get the win even though he performed well enough to earn it.
The silver lining on the mound was the relief effort of Randy Boone. Boone came in to stop the bleeding in that 5th inning, and after giving up an RBI double on his first pitch and allowing a go-ahead run in the 6th, he shut the 'Hawks down for the remainder of the game to take the win.
All in all, it's nice to get a series win on the road--particularly in cold, windy conditions against a Kansas squad that clearly brought its A-game. Since starting 2-4 and losing its first two series, the Longhorns have won 8 straight series going 26-6 in the process. They now stand at 28-10 overall for the year.