All week long, Texas worked on cutting down on strikeouts and putting the ball in play with two strikes.
The Longhorns didn’t produce on Saturday, losing 5-3 to Nebraska and scattering eight strikeouts — three looking — to fall short of what could have been their second come-from-behind win in a row.
Sunday was a different story.
Texas’ offense exploded with 13 hits to take down the Cornhuskers 13-3 in eight innings, highlighted by a six-run rally in the third inning caused by three infield hits, two walks and a two-run home run from Cameron Rupp.
“That inning was the turning point in the game, and it came at a great time because they were closing in on us,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “They were on a roll and we rallied to put five guys on base that struck out yesterday.”
The Huskers were on a roll because of senior right fielder Adam Bailey, who was absolutely lethal at the plate all weekend long for the Huskers. Bailey hit .636 for the series with seven hits, two home runs and 6 RBI.
“I’m glad he’s going back to Nebraska,” said Brandon Workman, who pitched a complete game Sunday. “He hit everything we threw up there, — fastballs up, curveballs away, he hit it all.”
After giving up one run in the first when Bailey doubled to left center scoring Kale Kiser, and two runs in the third when Bailey’s single drove in Kiser and DJ Belfonte, Workman settled down to throw five scoreless innings on only two hits.
“Of the three starters, Workman had the best presence and was the most relaxed,” Garrido said. “[He] was really on his game, and his team needed it because losing early makes it harder.”
Workman got a lot of help from his offense, who had a team meeting before Sunday’s game to talk about playing loose and having fun at the plate. The Horns hit 19 balls hard and beat out six infield hits to keep innings going and kept the Nebraska defense off balance.
“We talked about staying focused and staying in the game to keep the intensity up,” center fielder Cohl Walla said.
Texas won two of three against Nebraska thanks to a walk-off home run from Rupp on Friday night to win 6-5. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, freshman pinch hitter Jordan Weymouth ripped a double down the left field line in his first at-bat as a Longhorn. Keyes followed with a walk before Rupp sent the first pitch he saw up and into the 20-mph wind blowing to right field, sending 7,240 fans at Disch-Falk Field into celebration.
“I told the team, ‘That was a piece of cake,’” Garrido said. “There’s too much excitement, surprise, drama and too many magical things not to feel the joy. This game lets the hitters know they are never out of it.”
“I knew it was gone without a doubt,” Rupp said. “It felt like the world was lifted off my shoulders.”