college baseball

Texas Cools Off TCU, Tightens Big 12 Race With Series Win

FILE: The Texas Longhorns during the 2021 State Farm College Baseball Showdown at Globe Life Field on Feb. 22, 2021 in Arlington, Texas.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Texas Longhorns found a way to cool down TCU and make sure the Big 12 Conference race goes down to the final weekend.

The Longhorns (38-12, 15-6 Big 12) closed out the series win with a 9-3 victory Sunday in a showdown of top 10 teams at TCU. They're still a game behind the Horned Frogs (34-12, 16-5), who have been one of the nation's hottest teams.

David Pierce's team delivered in a series that the Texas coach presented as "truly an opportunity to play in a super regional setting and face the challenges going in on the road and seeing what we're made of."

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Texas won 5-4 and lost 2-1 in the first two games. Then came the finale when Zach Zubia had two homers and drove in four runs and Pete Hansen delivered another dominant start.

Hansen allowed two hits in seven shutout innings before TCU scored three in the ninth off the bullpen. A week earlier, he allowed one run in 7-2/3 innings against Texas Tech, another Big 12 power.

The Longhorns rebounded from a series loss to Texas Tech, which had a four-game series canceled because of COVID-19 issues within the Illinois-Chicago program. Texas Tech has won series against both teams above the Red Raiders in the standings.

The Horned Frogs came into the weekend having won 11 of 12 games, including series sweeps of Oklahoma State and West Virginia.

Texas plays its final five games at home including a series with West Virginia in two weeks. TCU closes Big 12 play at Kansas State from May 20-22.

IN THE POLLS
Arkansas remained a consensus No. 1 in the rankings after winning two of three from Georgia. Stanford vaulted into the top 10 in the Collegiate Baseball poll with a series win over Arizona and jumped five spots to No. 14 in Baseball America's rankings.

Louisville made a five-spot leap in Collegiate Baseball's poll, rising to No. 8 after winning the final two games against Duke on top of a midweek, 7-2 victory over No. 2 Vanderbilt.

D1baseball.com's top four teams remain from the Southeastern Conference: No. 1 Arkansas, No. 2 Vandy, No. 3 Mississippi State and No. 4 Tennessee. Then come three Big 12 teams: Texas, TCU and Texas Tech.

NO-HIT WONDERS
There were several no-hitters in college baseball over the weekend.

Oklahoma State's Justin Campbell became the program's third pitcher to throw a nine-inning no-hitter in a 19-0 win at Kansas. He struck out 11 and allowed only an eighth-inning walk. The last Cowboy to do it was Bob Richardsonin 1968 against Houston; Jim Wixson did it in the 1960 College World Series against North Carolina.

Walker Powell's seven-inning no-hitter highlighted a dominant pitching weekend for Southern Miss against Middle Tennessee. It was the Golden Eagles' first complete-game no-hitter since Cliff Russum against Eastern Illinois on March 13, 2004. Hunter Stanley had struck out 16 in nine scoreless innings of an extra-inning victory Friday night. Ben Ethridge closed the series sweep with a complete-game shutout.

North Carolina Central's Austin Vernon pitched the program's first no-hitter of the modern era in a 10-0 win over Delaware State that ended after eight innings under the mercy rule.

Nicholas Dombkowski produced the second no-hitter of Hartford's Division I era in a 4-0 win over Albany. Eventual first-round draft pick Sean Newcomb threw a seven-inning no-hitter in a 1-0 win over Yale in 2012.

MASSIVE INNING
Baylor set a program and Big 12 record with 17 runs in the fifth inning against Kansas State en route to a 23-3 win shortened by the mercy rule. Baylor had nine hits, six walks, a hit batter and a passed ball on a third strike in the huge inning.

"It was a lot of fun," catcher Andy Thomas said. Unless you were a Kansas State pitcher, and five of them took the mound in that inning.

The Bears won their fourth straight conference series and are fourth in the Big 12 standings.

BIG NUMBERS
Maryland's Justin Vought and Samford's Max Pinto both had three-homer games over the weekend, matching the single-game high this season.

Jackson State's Anthony Becerra struck out 17 Mississippi Valley State batters. Four other pitchers have had 17 strikeouts in a game this season, trailing McNeese State's Will Dion's 19 for most in a game.

MORE THAN FAIR(FIELD)
Fairfield finished the regular season 32-1 and riding a five-game winning streak. The Stags, who play in the Mid-American Athletic Conference, were 2-9 when the season shut down last year.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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