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Texas 14, West Virginia 3: Longhorns bounce back with a blowout but TCU keeps its distance

Trey Faltine, center, celebrates with DJ Petrinsky, left, and Cam Williams after hitting the first of his two home runs Friday night in the 14-3 win over West Virginia.

On Friday evening, Texas rebounded from a disappointing setback.

But unfortunately for the Longhorns, so did TCU.

Two home runs from Trey Faltine served as box score bookends for Texas in a 14-3 win over West Virginia at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. One day after dropping a 5-4 decision to the Mountaineers, Texas scored 14 runs in a Big 12 game for the third time in the past five seasons.

Texas was unable to use the win to propel itself into a first-place tie in the Big 12 standings. No. 12 TCU (36-15, 17-6) maintained its slim lead over the second-ranked Longhorns (39-13, 16-7) with an 8-6 victory at Kansas State. The Horned Frogs, who also lost Thursday, clinched a share of the conference championship with their win.

Texas and TCU were set to close out their regular seasons on Saturday. If UT can catch the Horned Frogs, it will be the top seed in next week's Big 12 Tournament.

"We can't control how the TCU-Kansas State series ends up, but we can control how we play tomorrow," UT pitcher Tristan Stevens said Friday. "We'll just see what happens from there."

In the second inning, Faltine used both his glove and his bat to get Texas going against West Virginia (23-24, 8-15). The second-year shortstop ended the inning's top half with a spectacular defensive play. A few minutes later, Faltine put the Longhorns on the board with a two-run homer.

Texas' Mitchell Daly barely beats a tag by the Mountaineers' Ben Hampton at first base in the third inning Friday.

Texas scored five runs in each of the next two innings. The only starter who didn't reach base as UT built a 12-0 lead over the first four innings was Douglas Hodo III, but the outfielder produced two run-scoring sacrifice flies. 

In its one-run loss Thursday, Texas stranded three runners on third base. Faltine himself struck out with the bases loaded. So was UT's offensive outburst a day later fueled by frustration or were the Longhorns just having a good day at the ballpark?

"Honestly, it was a little bit of both," Faltine said. "Last night wasn't our best-hitting night. That just shows the kind of team we are. We have one bad night and the next night, it's like a whole new team out there."

In the eighth inning, Texas designated hitter Ivan Melendez hit his team-leading 11th home run of the season. Faltine then capped the night by blasting a baseball over the fence in left field.

The two-homer performance was Faltine's first as a Longhorn. He did tell reporters that he once had multiple homers during a playoff game at Fort Bend Travis High.

"It's not my first," Faltine said.

In route to earning his eighth victory of the season, Stevens gave up eight hits and two walks over eight innings. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning and surrendered a three-run homer in the seventh, but was otherwise unflappable.

The eight innings pitched were a career high for Stevens, who has worked at least six innings in each of his last 10 starts. Stevens only threw 85 pitches on Friday night. UT coach David Pierce said he pulled Stevens because he wanted to see freshman Jared Southard pitch before the postseason starts.

"Tristan was Tristan," Pierce said. "He went out there and mixed pitches and did a great job of competing."

Around the bases: The first pitch of Saturday's game is set for 2:30 p.m. Pierce said that West Virginia's travel plans wouldn't prevent the Mountaineers from playing later in the day if the game is delayed by the rain that is in the forecast. ... Texas turned two double plays against the Mountaineers. ... Melendez and UT pitcher Ty Madden were named semifinalists for the Dick Howser Trophy on Friday. ... Texas first baseman Zach Zubia extended his on-base streak to 28 games.

Texas' Mike Antico is tagged out at second base by West Virginia's Matt McCormick after being caught in a rundown during the first inning Friday.