Out of gas? Hardly.
“I was expecting to go five, maybe six innings but I just fell in to a rhythm,” Kenn Kasparek said.
Overall, Kasparek (4-3) gave up only three hits and struck out nine batters while walking just one. He has now pitched 21 and two-thirds consecutive scoreless innings.
“Usually what happens when a pitcher pitches a good game is they fall victim to expectations,” head Coach Augie Garrido said. “It’s unusual for a college pitcher to not be so enamored with his last performance that he can pitch again.”
Garrido credited Kasparek’s maturity and rhythm for pulling off the impressive turn around performance.
Cole Green rounded out the game on the mound and earned his third save of the season. With one out at the top of the ninth, Junior Adam Hornung hit a single up the middle. A wild pitch and a sacrifice grounder put him at third but Green fanned Raynor Campbell to end the game before Hornung could get any farther.
A single through the right side by first baseman Brandon Belt knocked Kyle Russell in from second to give the Horns their first run of the game in the second inning. Texas tacked on their final run in the third compliments of a double by Russell Moldenhauer. Moldenhauer’s shot down the left field line gave Tucker the go-ahead from second. Tucker, the inning's lead-off batter, was beaned before advancing on a sac bunt by Jordan Danks.
“This was a must win for us…it’s not too early to think about postseason. If we lost we sure would have been thinking about it,” Garrido said, laughing.
Texas’ win earned it the series after topping the Bears Friday in Waco and falling to them Saturday in Austin. The Horns are now 12-12 in conference play. Baylor dipped to 28-22 overall and 10-14 against conference opponents.
“This was really important,” said Kasparek. “We hit a speed bump Saturday but came out today and shut them down.”
Despite struggling defensively this season, Texas (29-19) logged its second consecutive game with no errors.
“Our defense was really good. Travis (Tucker) made some great plays. We are fortunate to have a guy like him behind us,” said Kasparek.
Tucker fielded Aaron Miller’s hot grounder in the ninth to prevent Hornung from advancing past third.
“Travis Tucker’s defensive plays were all over the place” Garrido said.
Craig Fitsch (3-3) got the loss and allowed three hits and two runs, one earned, over five innings.
Garrido and Kasparek both pointed to the chemistry and rhythm between the mound and the infield for the series win but Garrido wasn’t finished:
“I was very proud of our fans…I know I don’t mention them a lot but they were great today. They were vocal and supportive…I know we have put them through a lot this season and they are still coming out and supporting us,” he said.
The Horns take the next week off to finish up the school year and concentrate on finals before picking things back up for a possible double-header next weekend.