Texas finished a historic run to the Big 12 championship game with a 6–3 win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys at ONEOK Field in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Sunday.
The Longhorns, who finished the Big 12 regular season in fifth place with a 26–25 overall record, rode the backs of their pitchers to the championship game. Texas got three consecutive complete games from pitchers — senior Parker French, junior Ty Culbreth and freshman Connor Mayes.
Texas saw Sunday’s starting pitcher, right-handed freshman Kyle Johnston, pick up where the other three left off. Johnston threw five innings of one-hit ball before getting into trouble in the sixth inning.
“All of the four starters did an excellent job of getting their outs on time,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “[The pitchers were] pitching to contact, pitching without fear, showing a purpose on the mound, trusting their teammates behind them and going about their business of playing baseball.”
The Longhorns scored the first run of the game in the third inning. Junior left fielder Ben Johnson hit a one-out single and moved over to second on freshman shortstop Joe Baker's sacrifice bunt. Junior shortstop C.J Hinojosa hit an RBI single to center to bring Johnson home and gave Texas a 1–0 lead.
Johnston kept the Cowboys offense shut-down until the sixth inning, in which he issued a one-out walk to freshman infielder Jacob Chappell. The Cowboys followed the walk with a single from senior outfielder Gage Green. Oklahoma State tied the game on an RBI single by junior outfielder Corey Hassel.
The Cowboys continued their offensive push in the seventh inning. French came into the ballgame to relieve Johnston, as Oklahoma State loaded the bases. The Cowboys were able to score a run and take a 2–1 lead, but French was able to get the Longhorns out of the inning only down one.
Down a run, the Longhorns offense exploded in the eighth inning. Texas took advantage of three errors and scored five runs on two hits to give it a 6–2 lead.
But Oklahoma State would try to rally in the bottom frame as it loaded the bases in the eighth. The Cowboys were able to score a run, but the Longhorns got off the inning 6–3.
Texas called upon senior left handed pitcher Kirby Bellow to finish the eighth and ninth innings and secure its fifth Big 12 Tournament Championship.
“I just went out there and trusted myself and focused on the glove and didn't worry about the runners,” Bellow said. “I just went out there and tried to do my job.”
Sophomore center fielder Zane Gurwitz was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. Gurwitz had two hits and two RBIs in the championship game.
While he earned the tournament’s highest honor, Gurwitz was quick to acknowledge his teammates efforts throughout the tournament.
“I have the easy part,” Gurwitz said. “My teammates in the eighth inning they got the bases loaded for me, they tied the game. All I had to do was put the ball in play, and I found a hole.”
Gurwitz, French and Mayes were named to all-tournament team alongside sophomore catcher Tres Barrera, senior second baseman Brooks Marlow, freshman third baseman Bret Boswell and Baker.