Russell Ties Record as Texas Takes KU Series
Kyle Russell (Texas Sports Photos)
Kyle Russell (Texas Sports Photos)

Posted Apr 7, 2007

Kyle Russell tied Texas' single-season home run record with a pair of round-trippers against Kansas Saturday, lifting the Horns to a 6-5 decision in Lawrence. Texas won the rubber match to remain atop the Big 12 Conference standings.

Kyle Russell went yard with two-on in the fifth and with two-done in the seventh, to match Jeff Ontiveros' single-season mark set in 2002. Chance Wheeless also extended his hitting streak to 15 games, the best stretch any Longhorn during the past two seasons, with two hits in five appearances.

RHP Randy Boone notched his first win of 2007. The senior yielded one run on five hits during 4.2 innings of work. He fanned six and walked none. Starting LHP Joseph Krebs was oh-so-close to being the pitcher-of-record. The senior cruised through four frames but was responsible for four runs off six hits. He struck-out three Jayhawks and walked two.

It was a long-ball afternoon for the Horns who manufactured seven hits and were guilty of an infield error. The Horns are now 28-10 on the season and, at 9-3, maintain their hold on first-place in league play.

With temperatures hovering at 32 degrees at first-pitch, Texas drew first blood with Nick Peoples' two-out homer to left-center field in the top of the second. It was his second home run of the weekend and second of the season. He then robbed KU of a couple of runs when he scaled the wall in right-center field to record the final out of the Jayhawk third.

Russell's three-run bomb to right-center on an 0-1 breaking ball spotted Texas a 4-0 advantage in the top of the fifth. However, the Jayhawks answered in the home-half of the frame when Krebs surrendered a double, a walk and an RBI-single. 2B Travis Tucker's fielding error loaded the bases. Coach Augie Garrido gave Krebs a chance to record the final out, but Brock Simpson's two-run shot to left resulted in the first pitching change of the contest. Erik Morrison unloaded on Boone's first pitch, a high-breaking ball, for an RBI-double down the left field line. Boone ended the frame with a 2-2 fastball but not before KU sent nine batters to the plate. We are tied at 4-4 after KU plated three unearned runs.

Kansas took its first lead of the day in the bottom of the sixth on Kyle Murphy's two-out, RBI-single to right on an 0-2 pitch. A hit-batsman put a Jayhawk on every bag, but Simpson went down swinging to halt the Jayhawk uprising at 5-4.

With two down in the Texas seventh, the Horns needed a spark on a frigid afternoon. It came in the form of Russell's school-record 20th home run of the season and second of the day. The sophomore lifted a shot to left-center on a 1-1 pitch to maintain his status as the 2007 NCAA home run leader. That's when LHP Any Marks yielded the mound to LHP Paul Smyth, the Jayhawk closer. The Horns stranded two runners after Wheeless singled and Bradley Suttle reached on a scoring error, but the game was knotted at 5-5.

Buck Afenir recorded a two-out single in the Kansas seventh, but he would be the last Jayhawk to touch a base.

Peoples got things started during Texas' next at-bat when he slid into first following an in-field single. Russell Moldenhauer doubled to center on a 1-2 pitch to give Texas the go-ahead run at 6-5. Boone then produced his most solid two innings this season, retiring the side in order in the Kansas eighth. He then faced the meat of the Kansas lineup in the final frame. After forcing a fly-out to center, Boone fanned the final two batters to secure the win,

The Horns return to action 6:05 p.m. (CDT) Friday when they host Texas Tech for a three-game series.

Related Stories
Jayhawks Blast Texas Pitching Staff
 -by  Apr 6, 2007
Texas Takes Hit-Parade Against UTSA
 -by  Apr 3, 2007
Audio: Interview with Kyle Russell
 -by  Apr 3, 2007

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