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Saturday - May 5, 2007

Game 51: Missouri at Texas

Texas came back from last night's miserable loss very nicely today to win 5-1. Missouri didn't score that one run 'til the 9th so it was almost a shutout. Good game.

Texas started things off nicely by bringing Gail Goestenkors in to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. She played her part just right. She stood on the turf just in front of the mound and pitched from the stretch to Brett Lewis at the plate. She shook off a couple of pitches, nodded approvingly when she found the one she wanted, wound up, made a pretty high kick, and then threw the ball. Which landed about 8 feet shy of the plate. Ha! Very funny. She got a standing ovation from the crowd.

And, then Adrian Alaniz got to business. He took the Tigers out in order in the 1st and 2nd innings. In the 3rd, he gave up a long triple to John McKee. Jordan Danks made a long run in lf and actually got to the ball. But, he got to it just as he crashed into the outfield wall. The collision jarred the ball loose and McKee was safe at 3b. The next batter popped out to 2b. Then Arndt grounded into a 6-2 fielder's choice. Chais Fuller made a nice grab and perfect throw to Preston Clark at home. McKee plowed into Preston and knocked him backward. Preston held onto the ball for the out, though. Yeah! With two outs, and a 1-2 count, Texas guessed correctly that Arndt would run and threw a pitch-out. Preston threw to Chais and they had Arndt dead to rights. Alas, Arndt turned back to 1b and Chais's throw to Chance Wheeless at 1b hit Arndt and rolled into the Missouri dugout. Preston made a valiant effort to get to the ball before it made it into the dugout but he couldn't quite get there. So, for the second time in the inning, the Tigers had a runner at 3b (Arndt was automatically awarded the extra base since the ball went into the dugout). Thankfully, Frey flew out to cf to end the threat. The Tigers went down in order again in the 4th. They loaded the bases in the 5th on a walk, a fly out to lf, a bloop single over Bradley Suttle at 3b, and then an error by Bradley. The batter hit a hard grounder that Bradley got in front of but misplayed. Maybe he was already thinking about getting a double play? I dunno. But, the ball bounced off his chest and all runners were safe. The next batter flew out to shallow rf...no chance for the runner from 3b to score. And, then Frey flew out to lf. Again, Jordan made an enormous effort to get to a ball at the wall. He caught the ball this time, but ran into the fence again. And, he apparently wrenched his shoulder because he was replaced in lf the next inning by Kyle Lusson. In the post-game interview, Coach Garrido said they weren't sure about Jordan's status going forward but it didn't sound too bad. The first batter of the 6th walked but he was erased on a double play. The final batter grounded out to 3b. Bradley was deep in the hole and made a very nice...very long...throw to 1b to get the out. The Tigers went down in order again in the 7th and 8th. Nice. Sadly, Adrian started the 9th off by hitting the batter on his knee (2-2 count). The next batter hit a ground-rule double to the cf/rf alley. The 3rd batter hit a sac fly to rf...scoring the run and moving the runner from 2b to 3b. So, Joseph Krebs went to the mound. By my count, Adrian threw 116 pitches through those 8.1 innings he pitched. He gave up 3 hits, struck out 4, and walked 2. Nice job. Joseph threw two strikeouts to end the game. Yes! I don't guess that qualifies as a save for him. Ah well. A very nice come-back from his poor showing yesterday.

On the offensive side of things, the left-handed batters really struggled today against the Missouri starter (Rick Zagone). Facing the starter, the right-handed batters went a combined 9-for-14; the left-handed batters went 2-for-10. Yowsa. Preston Clark and Chais Fuller both went 3-for-4 on the day (3-for-3 against the starter). The Horns were scoreless through the first 3 innings. Chais made a bit of a mental error to start off the 3rd. He hit a high fly ball down the rf line. On a typical day at Disch-Falk, it's the sort of ball that would bend right and land near (or past) the tarp near the fence along the rf line. Alas, it was not a typical day. The wind was blowing pretty strong from rf to lf and the ball stayed fair. But, Chais just went about 10 feet down the 1b line as he watched the ball...expecting it to go foul. The Missouri right fielder (Lollis) made a long run and just missed catching the ball as it landed fair by about 6 inches. As it landed, Chais realized what was happening and took off. He should've been running hard from the outset. But, he didn't. So, he should've stopped at 1b. But, he didn't do that either. Instead, he tried to make it to 2b. And, he was thrown out fairly easily by Lollis. Which was really too bad because Travis Tucker hit a beaut of a double to the cf/rf gap. That would've scored Chais pretty easily from 2b if he'd been running on his fly ball. Alas, Travis was stranded at 2b. In the 4th, Bradley Suttle reached on a high-bouncing infield single. The ball bounced off the plate, past the mound and about 40% of the way between 1b and 2b...but about 8 feet inside the 1b/2b baseline. The first baseman, the pitcher, and the second baseman all went for the ball. The pitcher caught the ball but had nobody to throw to at 1b so Bradley was safe. Finally, a bit of good luck for the Horns. Preston followed that with a double down the lf line. Runners at 2b and 3b. Jordan struck out and then Chais hit a double to cf (2 runs across). In the 5th, the Horns got runners to 1b and 2b with 1 out but the inning ended when the Tigers turned a nice 6-4-3 double play. The 6th proved too much for Zagone. Preston singled to cf and moved to 2b on a sac bunt by Kyle Lusson. Russell Moldenhauer was hit on the shoulder to put runners at 1b and 2b. Russell was the 3rd batter of the game hit by Zagone. Ouch. Chais singled to cf, scoring Preston and moving Russell to 2b. Travis then singled to rf to load the bases. Lollis made a diving attempt at the ball and almost had it but it bounced out of his glove. Nick Peoples hit a come-backer to the mound. Zagone fielded and threw home for the 2nd out of the inning. Zagone almost overthrew the catcher. But no...the throw was in time and the catcher held on. Bases still loaded. Kyle Russell then hit a hard single through the right side, scoring Chais and Travis, and moving Nick to 3b. Chance Wheeless then hit a high pop-up about 8 feet down the 3b line. The catcher had a bead on the ball and then fell away at the last second. Nick stepped around him and scored. Only, he was immediately called out by the home plate umpire. Apparently, Nick hollered for the ball ("I got it!!") as the catcher was about to make the catch. That's why the catcher fell away. He thought it was his own third baseman. Nick was called out for runner's interference. Very unusual play. Inning over. The Missouri catcher was ridiculed mightily when he next went to bat in the 9th. Lots of "I got it!" coming from the crowd. One guy: "who's got it???" Lots of people: "I got it!!" Funny. Anyway, that was the end of the 6th. Texas got runners to 1b in the 7th and 8th but they were stranded there.

All-in-all, today's game was great. There were a couple of mental lapses. But, when you think about what happened last night, you just have to be happy with the team's performance. Props all around. Here's hoping the Horns win the series tomorrow. According to the radio guys (I haven't looked at the numbers but have no reason to doubt 'em), if Texas wins tomorrow, they're a lock for at least a share of the regular season Big 12 title and will be the #1 seed for the Big 12 Tournament. Hook 'em!

Posted by Joanna at 8:01 PM