After Friday night's 11 inning debacle, Texas needed a great game from Adrian Alaniz and he more than delivered.
The Texas junior right-hander showd why he's a semi-finalist for the Golden Spikes award, giving up only one run on three hits over eight and a third innings pitched, while striking out four. Alaniz is now 11-2 on year and said he was ready to get back on the mound to show what he could do.
"My arm felt really good today," understated Alaniz. "You get into that rythem when you get out onto the field."
Joseph Krebs came came on for Texas with two outs to go in the ninth and atoned for a rough outing in the series opener, stiking out the remaining two Tiger batters.
Texas head coach Augie Garrido was proud of how his team bounced back after the tough loss the day before.
"With the devastating loss last night and the win today, that just reveals the attitude of this team," said Garrido.
The Longhorns moved to 18-5 in conference play and 38-13 overall, essentially locking up, barring a collapse of monumental proportions, Texas' 74th...I say again, 74th conference championship. Second-place Missouri is now at 32-13 and 13-7 in the Big 12.
Texas leads by three and a half (if my math is correct) with only four conference games remaining. The Horns will look to take the rubber match on Sunday. With a win on Sunday, Texas clinches at least a share of the Big 12 regular season title.
Alaniz was dropping Missouri batters from the beginning of the game, but it took until the fourth for the Texas bats to start really swinging. RBI doubles from Chais Fuller and Preston Clark put Texas up 2-0 on the Tigers.
The Texas ace continued to keep Missouri off the board, but he faced a close call in the fifth. The Tigers loaded the bases on Alaniz and, with two outs, Missouri lead-off hitter Evan Frey fired a deep fly ball to left center. But Texas left fielder Jordan Danks made a leaping catch at the wall, sacrificing his body to maintain the shutout.
Danks was slow to get up from his catch and in the top of the six was replaced in the field by Kyle Lusson. Danks suffered a bruised shoulder and, while the injury doesn't appear to be too serious, he'll need to go through further examination before he can return.
Texas extended its lead in the bottom of the six. An RBI single from Fuller and a full-count, bases-loaded, two-out single from right fielder Kyle Russell put Texas up 5-0 on Missouri. Four of Texas' five runs came with two outs on the board.
"To be a champion, you have to come through when it matters," said Garrido.
The bottom of the sixth, however, ended on a controvercial call. Chance Wheeless popped the ball nearly straight up and Missouri catcher Trevor Coleman tried to make the catch, but dived out of the way as Nick Peoples passed by on the basepath. The infield fly rule was not in effect since there were two outs, but the call was interferance on Peoples, even though Suttle wouldn't have touched Coleman if the Missouri catcher had remained in place. Garrido came out to argue the call, but was informed that Peoples was yelling "Ball, ball, I got it!" as he passed by, which is most definitely illegal.
The boos from the Texas crowd came pouring down over the call and continued into the top of the seventh, especially because Coleman was next up to bat for the Tigers.
"This is always a tough place to come into," Missouri's Ryan Lollis told Inside Texas. "This crowd, they let you have it."
In the top of the ninth a SAC fly was all Missouri could manage as Krebs came on in relief and shut the Tiger offense down.
First pitch for Sunday's series closer is set for 1 p.m. at the Disch. Texas will likely send Austin Wood (6-1, 3.39 ERA) to the mound to face Missouri's Ian Berger (3-1, 3.77 ERA).