The first day of the Big 12 tournament left many fans stunned at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, but right as the sun began to set in Oklahoma City, all eyes re-focused on the Red River Rivalry.
The No. 6-seeded Longhorns and No. 3-seeded Sooners resumed their rivalry in the primetime slot for the first day of the conference tournament, and senior Kacy Clemens picked up right where he left off Sunday.
Oklahoma retired Texas’ first two batters of the game, but with two outs and a runner on first, Kacy blasted another first inning homer for the second-consecutive game. This time, the two-run shot that cleared the left field wall jump started the Longhorns’ 8-4 victory over the Sooners.
“He’s had some big hits for us all year,” head coach David Pierce. “His approach is outstanding, to be able to drive the fastball to left center field gap twice, a homerun and a double … it was just outstanding hitting.”
But he wasn’t done.
Clemens’ second plate appearance was the same song, just a different verse. Clemens sent another two-run shot, this time to right field, giving Longhorns fans a lot to cheer about early on with a 5-0 lead in the third inning.
“I thought tonight had a lot of energy in the ball park,” Pierce said. “Our team went out and got an early lead with some clutch hitting and and great starting pitching early.”
Freshman shortstop David Hamilton had quite a night, too. Hamilton’s glove was consistent as always, but the San Marcos native finished with three doubles, including the timely RBI to extend Texas’ lead to 6-3 after the Sooners threatened to erase Texas’ early lead.
“What I was really impressed with tonight was that we were able to tack on runs,” Pierce said. “And we just continued to play at a very good pace and a great tempo, it was just a quality team win.”
Despite an Oklahoma home run that cut Texas’ lead to 6-4, Texas ace Morgan Cooper entered the game in the eighth and quickly ended any comeback hopes.
Texas tacked on two more runs in the top of the ninth to break the game open at 8-4, sealing the first round victory in front of the Sooner dominant crowd.
“Playing here is almost like a home game for them,” Clemens said. “So getting to beat them in front of their home crowd is pretty cool.”
The Longhorns’ victory late Wednesday night win puts them in the winner’s bracket, but it’s the teams who accompany Texas in that bracket who made headlines.
Hours before the Longhorns’ victory, mayhem broke loose.
Big 12 fans alike watched on as both No. 1-seeded Texas Tech and No. 2-seeded TCU walked off the field in defeat in their first round matchups. No. 8-seeded Oklahoma State stunned the Red Raiders after a 3-0 shutout performance, followed by an equally as surprising performance from No. 7-seeded Kansas. The Jayhawks’ 7-3 victory over the No. 2-seeded TCU also placed the Horned Frogs in the loser’s bracket with the Red Raiders.
Oklahoma’s loss Wednesday night capped off the first time seeds No. 1-3 all lost in day one since 2008.
The Red River Rivalry concluded at 12:30 am, but the Sooners don’t have time to dwell on the day one loss. Oklahoma is scheduled for a win or go home matchup with TCU at 12:30 pm.
Texas is a bit more fortunate with a matchup at 7:30 pm against No. 7-seeded Kansas on Thursday.
As head coach David Pierce left the post-game conference late Wednesday night the last thing he said was, “I’m glad I’m not playing early.”