Texas’ season looked like it was on its final legs. The Longhorn bullpen surrendered seven runs, and squandered an early 3-1 lead against Oklahoma State Friday night.
Down 8-3, it was time for head coach Augie Garrido, the winningest coach in the history of college baseball, to have a little dugout chat with his team.
Two innings later, Texas was riding the momentum of a nine-run eighth inning to an improbable 12-8 victory in Oklahoma City, extending their Big 12 tournament stay another day.
“This is the kind of thing that we needed to have happen about three weeks ago,” Garrido told 104.9 The Horn. “Now they have a whole new concept of who they are and what they’re about.”
After a one-hour weather delay, the Longhorns eased through the opening innings. Texas cruised to a 3-1 lead after five complete innings behind strong pitching from sophomore starter Kyle Johnston.
But in the sixth inning, that advantage was pounded into smithereens by the Cowboy bats and some poor luck.
The Cowboys ripped off four singles to start the inning, tying the game at three. The wheels looked like they were falling off.
With two outs, Conor Costello got caught in a rundown between third and home, but somehow managed to evade the tag of junior catcher Tres Barrera and scamper home to put the Cowboys ahead 4-3. A replay, however, showed Barrera might have caught Costello, which would have led to an out.
A string of doubles and a throwing error pushed the Cowboys up 8-3 over what appeared to be a dejected Longhorn team.
Garrido though, made sure that his team did not concede defeat prematurely.
“The message was that, you know, we did get a tough call but we have four innings to play and it’s within our hands to be able to overcome that tough call,” Garrido said. “Everything can’t be perfect for us to have to win a game.”
Things sure weren’t perfect in the eighth inning. The Longhorns found themselves down 8-3 facing off against All-Big 12 closer Tyler Buffett.
But Texas never quit.
After three batters, the bases were loaded with Longhorns. Then after four straight RBI hits, Texas brought the score to 8-7 with two outs in the inning and chased Buffett from the game.
Sophomore Travis Jones then took a bases-loaded hit by pitch and evened the score at eight with the bottom of the lineup coming up.
But sophomore Bret Boswell, who struggled around the .200 mark all season, came through with an RBI and sent the bench into a frenzy. Texas added two more runs before freshman Nick Kennedy came in and pitched a perfect ninth to keep the Longhorns alive one more day.
Texas plays TCU Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
“I said all along, the team hasn’t come unglued or isn’t unstructured,” Garrido said. “It just has been beaten down and embarrassed by all the losing.”