Tulsa

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Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

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 2625 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. 

The Texas men’s golf team claimed its third-straight Big 12 Championship on Wednesday. The Longhorns finished 24 strokes better than runner-up Texas Tech, breaking a Big 12 record. Four Longhorns finished in the top 10.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

The No. 2 men’s golf team is victorious once again. On Wednesday, the Longhorns claimed their third-straight Big 12 title at the Big 12 Conference Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  

The team won in landslide fashion, finishing 24 strokes ahead of runner-up Texas Tech with a four-round total of 1130 (+10). With this win, Texas set the Big 12 record for largest margin of victory at a championship, breaking Oklahoma State’s 20-stroke record set in 2008.

“To have a 20-shot lead going into the last day is different, and that doesn’t usually happen,” head coach John Fields said. “A 72-hole event is also different — we only have one other tournament in college golf that is 72 holes, and that is the national championship. This is great preparation for us.”

The magnitude of Texas’ win is especially notable considering the tough course conditions. The tournament took place at Southern Hills Country Club, a notoriously difficult course.  

“Southern Hills is a great golf course; it’s extremely difficult,” Fields said. “It was prepared so that it was at championship caliber. The greens were running at 12.5-13, which made the premium on accuracy — from the tee and the fairway — exceptional.”

Perhaps even more exceptional was freshman Scottie Scheffler. Scheffler earned medalist honors at the championship, finishing in first place on the individual leaderboard with a four-round total at even par. Scheffler is only the fifth player in Texas men’s golf history to win a Big 12 Championship.

“It feels great,” Scheffler said. “I got off to a bad start but was able to turn it around and start hitting some better shots. I’m really glad that the team was able to get it done after having a nice lead going into today. We have a lot of momentum going into the next tournament.”

Other notable performances came from sophomore Gavin Hall and senior Kramer Hickok. Hall finished two strokes behind Scheffler to notch a career-best second-place ending. Hickok finished in a tie for fifth, his second top-five finish this season. Sophomore Beau Hossler rounded out the top-10 finishes for Texas in a tie for eighth. 

Next up for the Longhorns is the NCAA Regional Championship. Since it won the conference championship, Texas automatically qualifies for a regional tournament. The regional selection show will be broadcast live at 9 a.m. next Monday on the Golf Channel.

No. 8 Texas defeated Tulsa 4-0 on Sunday at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center. The 1 p.m. match numbered the second home match of the final five that the center will host before it’s torn down for construction of the medical school.

Juniors Soren Hess-Olesen, Lloyd Glasspool and Adrien Berkowicz, and freshman George Goldhoff all downed members of the Golden Hurricanes in singles.

Berkowicz, who only let up a single point as he defeated No. 108 Alejandro Espejo, said the match was good competition to face before No. 1 Oklahoma comes to Austin next week.

“This weekend will probably be our toughest match of the season,” Berkowicz said. 

With strong wins from many players of the team, the team looks ahead for hopes of success next weekend. 

“We just have to make sure we do what we’ve done in practice,” said junior Jacoby Lewis, who joined David Holiner for a 7-3 doubles win. “This will be a big match against a great team, and we just need to carry out the momentum from this season.”

Quarterbacks

Case McCoy relieved David Ash in each of the last three games, completing 63.2 percent of his passes without an interception. With Ash unavailable, McCoy will have to play well to keep freshman Tyrone Swoopes from taking his redshirt off. Sam Richardson nearly led the Cyclones to an upset win over rival Iowa with 260 yards and three touchdowns while running for 111 yards this year.

Advantage: Iowa State

 

Running Backs

Iowa State has the worst rushing attack in the Big 12 but junior Aaron Wimberly busted out with 137 yards against Tulsa, the first 50-yard rushing performance by a Cyclone this season. Johnathan Gray ran for a career-high 141 yards against Kansas State and Malcolm Brown had his best game of the year. Daje Johnson returns, making the Texas running game even more versatile.  

Advantage: Texas

 

Wide Receivers

Sophomores Quenton Bundrage and Tad Ecby -- the only two Iowa State receivers with at least 10 receptions this year -- are leading the Cyclones youth movement while senior Justin Coleman is averaging 24 yards per catch. Sophomores Kendall Sanders and Marcus Johnson provided depth filling in for an injured Mike Davis, combining for 150 yards in the win against Kansas State. Jaxon Shipley has been consistent, catching at least five passes in every game this season.

Advantage: Texas

 

Offensive Line

Junior center Tom Farniok and senior guard Ethan Tuftee lead a struggling offensive line that has surrendered 11 sacks in three games and kept Iowa State from running the ball effectively. Texas used double tight-end sets against Ole Miss but didn’t need any such help to run it against Kansas State. Tackle Josh Cochran is still out with a shoulder injury but guard Mason Walters returns and sophomore Kennedy Estelle has played well as Cochran’s replacement.

Advantage: Texas

 

Defensive Line:

Like Texas, Iowa State has struggled to stop the run, allowing 446 rushing yards in its first two games before holding Tulsa to 84 rushing yards last week. The pass rush still needs improvement, and senior defensive end Willie Scott is still seeking his first sack of the year. Texas gave up 310 rushing yards per game in its first three contests before making 15 tackles for loss, forcing three fumbles and registering three sacks while holding Kansas State to 115 yards on the ground.

Advantage: Texas

 

Linebackers

Losing Jordan Hicks, who averaged nine tackles per game, is a tremendous blow to the Longhorns linebacker corps. Steve Edmond will sit out the first half after being ejected for targeting in the second half against Kansas State. Sophomores Peter Jinkens and junior Tevin Jackson will have to elevate their play to make up for the losses. Senior Jeremiah George has made 25 tackles in the last two games, an admirable effort filling in for 2012 All-Big 12 linebackers A.J. Klein and Jake Knott. Junior Jared Brackens has also played well with 25 tackles and two sacks on the year. 

Advantage: Iowa State

 

Defensive Backs

Senior safeties Deon Broomfield and Jacques Washington have yet to allow a single receiver have for more than 100 yards. Iowa State will face the best receiving corps it’s seen this year and will want to limit a Texas team that passed for 387 yards against the Cylcones last year. The Longhorns secondary got toasted by junior receiver Tyler Lockett, who made 13 catches for 237 yards .But things are beginning to fall together for the secondary as sophomore corner Duke Thomas settles into his role as a starter.

Advantage: Texas

 

Special Teams

Senior kicker Anthony Fera missed his first field goal of the season, a 45-yarder against Kansas State, who started inside its 20-yard line four times. The Longhorns have yet to pose a threat in the return game. Cyclones freshman Cole Netton missed two field goals of 40 yards or more against Tulsa, but Aaron Wimberly is a solid return man with three kick returns of at least 30 yards this season.

Advantage: Iowa State

Iowa State running back Aaron Wimberly fights for yards in a loss to Iowa. After running for 137 yards in a win over Tulsa last Thursday, the Cyclones' first victory of the year, Wimberly was named the team's starting running back. 

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Aaron Wimberly only got less than one-third of the carries at Iowa Western Community College last year. So far, the junior has only gotten 26 percent of the carries this year.

But that’s about to change.

“He’s our guy,” head coach Paul Rhoads said. “Aaron is the starter going into Game 4 and will get the bulk of
the carries.”

Until this point, it has been running back-by-committee. He’s split carries with three seniors – James White, Jeff Woody and Shontrelle Johnson.

“There are a number of reasons that played into a lack of running back snaps [for Wimberly],” Rhoads said. “Some had to do with the game plan, knowledge and experience.”

Three games in, though, Wimberly has taken advantage of his opportunities and rocketed to the top of depth chart.

“He’s got a step of quickness on the others right now,” Rhoads said.

After getting just two carries in the Week 2 loss to Iowa, Wimberly, a 5-foot-9-inch, 173-pound tailback, burst onto the scene last week. He made the most of his first career start, rushing for 137 yards on 19 attempts in Iowa State’s first victory, helping Wimberly earn Big 12 co-offensive Player of the Week honors.

“I was waiting for my opportunity,” Wimberly said. “I got an opportunity that game and took advantage of it.”

And even the man gunning for his job was impressed.

“The way he gets up the field, you can’t replicate that,” Jeff Woody, the backup running back, said. “That type of one-cut burst is tough to stop. He can move.”

That one-cut style is what drew Rhoads to Wimberly, a heavily sought after recruit who led Iowa Western to an NJCAA National Championship in 2012 by rushing for 1,125 yards and 13 touchdowns – the same team that featured Texas’ last opponent, Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters.

“He is one of those guys you don’t need to spend a lot of time with in the evaluation,” Rhoads said. “You saw the speed, the ability to hit a small hole and very little wasted movement and motion. He is very much a simple one-cut guy.”

With Wimberly, who has yet to be tackled for a loss after 29 carries, running the ball, the Iowa State offense opens up – something it has had trouble doing in recent years.

“Sam [Richardson] is a great QB, but it’s hard to throw when they put six guys in the box and drop everybody else,” Woody said. “Having that successful running game pulls people back in the box more which helps Sam open the play book more.”

Rhoads agrees.

“There are number of things you can’t do without successful run plays,” Rhodes said. “There were a number of successful three- or four-yard runs in [the Tulsa game] that created play action and a 36-yard run later. You cannot be one dimensional and be successful unless to you got a world of talent on the O-line, a first-round draft pick slinging it around and a corps of star receivers. We don’t have that.”

Moving from the JUCO ranks to FBS and from third-string to starter would cause many athletes get caught up in the hype. But Wimberly still responds to reporters with “sir” and deflects attention away from him.

“I have to thank the O-line and wide receivers because they blocked really well for me,” Wimberly said after the Tulsa game when asked about his breakout performance.

And when the lights turn on Thursday night, Texas knows they have to watch out for him.

“Wimberly has tremendous speed,” Longhorns head coach Mack Brown said. “He was a big guy in the Tulsa game.  He changes who they are offensively.”

He’s ready for a bigger workload. He’s ready to prove himself. And he’s ready for the ESPN spotlight.

“It’s a big stage for me,” Wimberly said. “(The) national championship was big, but this is real big because it’s (in prime time). Everyone’s watching.”

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

Texas will travel to Ames, Iowa, this week to face a renewed Iowa State football team coming off its first win of the season, a 38-21 victory against Tulsa last Thursday. The Cyclones improved to 1-2 after losing two in-state battles to Northern Iowa and Iowa by a combined total of 14 points. Paul Rhoads’ team is set to open conference play with a home game against Texas on Thursday night — a rarity for the Longhorns apart from Thanksgiving Day.

Since 2010, Rhoads and his team have lost two of three games against the Longhorns with their only win coming on the road in Austin. In the victory over Tulsa, Cyclone sophomore quarterback, Sam Richardson, completed 26 of 41 passes for 255 yards and two scores while Aaron Wimberly had a breakthrough performance with 137 yards rushing on 19 carries. With both teams’ quarterbacks recovering from recent injuries — Ash exacerbated an earlier concussion and Richardson is nursing a sprained right ankle — both sophomore running back Johnathan Gray and Wimberly could see more carries Thursday in an attempt to relieve pressure on the passing game and open up the field. Here is how the teams stack up on both sides of the ball:

OFFENSIVE ADVANTAGE: 

Longhorns

Texas ranks fifth in ESPN’s Big 12 power rankings while Iowa State stands ninth, just ahead of Kansas who has only accounted for a mere seven touchdowns through three games. Quarterback David Ash, listed as day-to-day with a head injury, is third in the Big 12 in total offense, Richardson seventh. Gray ranks third in rushing offense. The good news for Rhoads’ squad is that the Cyclones lead the conference in red zone offense, converting seven touchdowns on a perfect 9-9 passing.    

DEFENSIVE ADVANTAGE:  

Cyclones

Coming into this week’s matchup, the Cyclones maintain an edge over Texas in scoring and rushing defense as well as total defense, three categories in which the Longhorns ranked last in the Big 12 through Saturday. Iowa State is limiting opponents to 77.8 percent scoring from 20 yards out while the Longhorns have allowed 14 touchdowns in four contests, with opponents averaging 28 points per game. The good news for the Longhorns is that a flawless defensive display may not be necessary given the relative weakness of the Cyclone receivers.

Thursday’s game will set the tone for both teams moving forward in the Big 12 competition. Texas’ conference title aspirations could hinge on whether it arrives in Ames ready to play, lest it prefers a repeat of the Brigham Young University game in which the Cougars scorched the Longhorn defense for record yardage.

On Saturday, Texas men’s tennis went 1-1 in pre-qualifying in Tulsa, Okla. Junior Jacoby Lewis advanced on straight sets (6-4, 6-1) over Oral Roberts’ Parker Allen. And junior Clement Homs fell in three sets (6-7(4), 7-6(6), 5-7) to Northwestern’s Konrad Zieba.

On Sunday, senior David Holiner started action after receiving a first round bye on Saturday. Holiner defeated UTSA’s Tomas Stillman (7-6, 3-6, 7-6) and Hawaii’s  Danilo Casanova (1-6, 6-2, 6-1) to advance to face Oystein Steiro of UNC for a spot in the qualifier draw on Monday. 

Lewis advanced to the third round, where he fell to Drake’s Matt Frost in three sets (6-1, 5-7, 6-2) after besting Northwestern’s Alex Pasareanu in straight sets (6-4, 7-6(5)).

On Monday, Nick Naumann takes on No. 98  Quinten Monahagen of Notre Dame. George Goldhoff plays a pre-qualifier winner. Adrien Berkowicz drew No. 110 Brandon Fickey of Tennesee. No. 93 Sudanwa Sitaram squares off against No. 65 William Kallberg of Ole Miss and No. 101 Lloyd Glasspool plays No. 50 Daniel Leitner of South Alabama.

The Texas men’s tennis team continues its fall play in Tulsa, Okla., at the 2013 ITA Men’s All-American Championships, which begins with singles pre-qualifying on Sept. 28.

Redshirt senior David Holiner and juniors Clement Homs and Jacoby Lewis will be the Longhorns’ representatives in the singles pre-qualifying rounds. If any of the three advance, they will join fellow Longhorn juniors Adrien Berkowicz and Lloyd Glasspool, freshman George Goldhoff, sophomore Nick Naumann and senior Sudanwa Sitaram in qualifying.  Junior Soren Hess-Olesen will not play until the main draw.  

In doubles, Holiner/Naumann, Lewis/Sitaram, Berkowicz/Goldhoff and Hess-Olesen/Glasspool will compete in the qualifying round, after which the top eight pairs advance to the main draw. 

Catcher Taylor King scores a run for the 16-1 Longhorns. King returns to her home state of Florida, where she played her high school ball, for this weekend’s tournament. 

Photo Credit: Zachary Strain | Daily Texan Staff

After escaping the eighth inning with a victory against No. 21 Tulsa last weekend, the Longhorns head to Kissimmee, Fla., for the Citrus Classic. 

Now ranked No. 5 in the country, the team faces No. 15 Louisville, Hofstra, No. 13 Louisiana-Lafayette and Syracuse this weekend. Freshman Taylor King is excited to compete near her hometown.

“When I was around 9 years old I saw Texas play, and all I wanted to do was play here,” King said. “Hopefully, my energy in being there and our energy in being there will carry over to the field.”

Texas trumped Louisville 14-4 and Hofstra 5-0 in the last matches against each of these teams in 2011. Pitcher Blaire Luna struck out 10 batters against Hofstra, but the Pride have yet to see her two years of improvement. Against Louisville and Louisiana-Lafayette, Texas looks to improve its record against ranked opponents. The team is 161-168-1 all-time, but 36-26 since Luna and her class arrived on campus.

“These are the fun games and these are the games that you play for,” Luna said of facing more competitive opponents.

During the 16-1 campaign for Texas thus far, shortstop Taylor Thom has posed a strong offensive threat. The first Longhorn to win consecutive Big 12 Player of the Week titles, Thom earned her second after last weekend’s performance at the Texas Invitational. Her six runs and eight RBIs included a three-double game to tie an NCAA single-game record. On Feb. 16 in Houston, her single-game two grand slams tied another.

“We continue to work hard in the cages,” Thom said. “The ball looks a little like a beach ball. I’m getting good swings on good pitches and going up to the plate with a plan.”

Thom looks to continue the dominance as the Longhorns open the tournament Friday at 10 a.m.

“We’re a mentally tough team,” Thom said. “We have the confidence in ourselves and I think we can go really far.” 

Weekend Breakdown: 

Game One vs. Lamar:

Brejae Washington’s four RBIs complemented Blaire Luna’s one-hitter to give No. 6 Texas a 5-0 win and extend the season-opening win streak to 13 games. Longhorns pitchers continued their streak of 27 straight scoreless innings.

Game Two vs. No. 24 Tulsa:

The Longhorns suffered their first loss of the season Friday night against No. 24 Tulsa. The 27 scoreless innings streak was snapped in the first inning of the 7-4 loss on back-to-back bases-loaded RBI singles by the Golden Hurricanes. After a shaky second inning, freshman pitcher Holly Kern was pulled for Kim Bruins. Tulsa led 5-0 going into the third. The Longhorns cut it to 5-3 in the fifth, but that was as close as they got.

Game Three vs. Utah State:

Powered by Taylor Thom’s 4-for-4 day at the plate, the Longhorns got back on the winning track with a 13-2 drubbing of Utah State. Sophomore Gabby Smith claimed the win with a complete game to improve to 2-0. Thom had an NCAA record-tying three doubles and drove in four runs.  

Semifinals vs. Lamar:

Texas set up a rematch with Tulsa in the finals with a 9-1 win over Lamar. Bruins drove in two runs and pitched her fourth complete game of the season. Taylor Hoagland and Washington combined for five runs scored while Thom continued her hot streak picking up two more hits.

Finals vs. Tulsa:

The Longhorns avenged their only loss of the season with a 1-0, eight-inning thriller against No. 24 Tulsa to claim the Texas Invitational title. Luna went the full eight innings, allowing just three hits while looking like a true all-American. The only run of the game came on a Smith single to score freshman Stephanie Ceo. 

By the Numbers:

5: Homers hit by Taylor Thom this season in 15 at-bats after her home run in Friday’s win over Lamar. The hot streak helped Thom earn Big 12 Player of the Week. 

12: Career triples by Brejae Washington after her three bagger in the tournament, just one behind Shannon Thomas for the all-time Texas record

0.50: Blaire Luna’s ERA to go along with her 7-0 record.