Texas infielder Kody Clemens (2) holds up his arms toward the outfield after Texas defeated Texas State on May 1, 2018. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Baseball

Kody Clemens, Longhorns walk-off past TCU and into a first-place tie with Oklahoma State

Posted May 18th, 2018

Advertisement

Following a 5-3 walk-off win over TCU at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Friday night, Texas junior Andy McGuire had some thoughts about the Longhorns’ fashion.

To be fair, McGuire was likely thinking about Kody Clemens’ two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning as well. He also probably pondered the state of the Big 12, which now features a first-place tie between Texas and Oklahoma State with one game to go.

McGuire, though, pointed out that this was UT’s third walk-off win of the season. Each of those triumphs — Austin Todd beat Louisiana-Lafayette with a two-run homer on Feb. 17 and David Hamilton hit a grand slam against Texas State on May 1 — came with Texas wearing its cream-colored uniforms.

Advertisement

“I think we should keep wearing these,” McGuire said.

Clemens actually hit two homers on Friday night. After scoring UT’s first run in the fourth inning, Clemens clubbed a two-run shot in the fifth frame to tie the game. He struck again on the evening’s final play.

After Duke Ellis extended the ninth inning on an infield single, Clemens worked a 1-1 count and took a healthy hack at a fastball from left-handed reliever Augie Mihlbauer. Clemens guessed correctly that he’d see a breaking ball on the next pitch. He hammered that two-out offering over the fence in right field.

It was the second walk-off homer of his career. In 2016, he beat the Horned Frogs at the Big 12 tournament.

“This is what’s in your dreams while you’re a baseball player. You want to win the game,” Clemens said. “You go in your backyard and say bottom of the ninth, two outs, tie game, two strikes or whatever. It’s unbelievable. I’m just happy that I could do it for this group of guys.”

Texas pitcher Andy McGuire (43) celebrates the final out of a 5-4 win over Kansas at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on March 18, 2018. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Clemens made a winner of McGuire, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning. McGuire, though, danced with danger as he allowed two baserunners with one out.

After throwing a ball to TCU’s A.J. Balta, McGuire was visited by Texas coach David Pierce. Pierce told McGuire he had freshmen Bryce Elder and Matt Whelan ready in the bullpen. McGuire, who graduated on Friday, said he’d get the job done.

McGuire then ended the threat by inducing a fly ball and a groundout.

“I threw a couple of good pitches and they put some good swings on it,” McGuire said. “Luckily, our defense is there, so it is what it is.”

Minutes after the win, the Longhorn players retreated into their clubhouse for a short meeting. Pierce said he told junior catcher Michael McCann to remind his teammates about what is still at stake.

Thanks to Texas Tech’s 14-6 rout of Oklahoma State on Friday night, Texas will play for a regular-season championship it last won in 2011. On Saturday, Oklahoma State is set to host Texas Tech in a game that starts 90 minutes before UT and TCU’s first pitch at 2:30 p.m.

If the Longhorns (36-18; 16-7) and Cowboys (29-21-1; 16-7) end up as co-champions, UT will earn a higher seed in the conference’s tournament thanks to their series win over Oklahoma State.

“They’ve had to earn it, they’ve had to just keep grinding. Nothing’s been easy for them,” Pierce said. “This team is a special team. I don’t know how they end up finishing, but I think they’ve got a really, really good chance to be hosting a regional in two weeks.”

Around the bases: Richard Overton, the world’s oldest living World War II veteran who celebrated his 112th birthday earlier this month, met with the Longhorns before the game. The Austin resident received a standing ovation from UT’s season-high crowd of 6,779 in the second inning. … Clemens’ 18 home runs this season are tied with Scott Bryant’s 1989 total for the fifth-most in school history. … Texas starter Chase Shugart went five innings against TCU (30-21; 10-12), allowing four hits and three first-inning runs. … The Big 12 announced on Friday that Texas’ first game at the Oklahoma City-hosted Big 12 tournament will be played next Wednesday at 12:30 p.m.

Comments