Wire to wire again: Texas advances to Big 12 Championship game

TULSA, Okla. (KXAN) – Texas will play for the Big 12 Tournament championship and a spot in the NCAA tournament Sunday following another dominant outing by a UT starting pitcher.

Freshman Connor Mayes tossed a two-hit shutout and Texas beat Baylor 4-0 early Saturday in Tulsa, Okla. All three wins for Texas at the conference tournament have included a complete game from the Longhorns pitcher. The three consecutive complete games is a first in program history and a first at the tournament, where a team had never previously totaled three complete games in the same year.

Mayes’s outing was the most dominant of the three this week for Texas. The freshman from Lake Travis High School – celebrating his 19th birthday – struck out 10 batters.

“Easily the best birthday ever,” he said. “Just happy we’re playing tomorrow.”

Texas beat Baylor for the fifth time in seven days. This win ends the Bears season.

A few minutes after the 9 am first pitch catcher Tres Barrera belted a chest high change up over the fence in left field, staking Texas to a 2-0 lead. That score would remain unchanged for much of the morning.

“I’m always sitting fastball…but if you see it up in the zone, I put a good swing on it,” Barrera said, borrowing a line from Texas pitching coach Skip Johnson, “physics did its work.”

The score did not change until the 8th inning. Walks loaded the bases for Texas and Brooks Marlow delivered with a two-out single to push the lead to 4-0.

Mayes returned in the ninth inning, avoiding any trouble to earn his second win of the season.

Texas arrived in Tulsa knowing its only chance to make the NCAA tournament was to capture the Big 12’s automatic bid by winning the conference tournament. Sunday at noon they will get that chance against No. 2 seed Oklahoma State.

“We don’t have that haze over us,” Mayes said “I think we got beat down so hard this season. It was a constant grind. But now everything is coming together when we need it to.”

Senior Parker French, who started the streak of complete games Wednesday in the Longhorns tournament opening win will come off three days rest to start against the Cowboys.

OSU swept Texas in a three-game series in Stillwater, Okla. in early April.

Heavy rain is in the forecast for Sunday. Bad weather has yet to delay the tournament, despite severe storms being in the area for much of the week.

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