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Longhorns sweep through Houston College Classic

HOUSTON -- The Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park featured six schools from the Lone Star State playing three games each over three days. By coming from behind to beat Sam Houston State, 3-2, on the final day of play on Sunday, the Texas Longhorns were the only team to win all three of their games.

"We're Texas. That's who we are," said Texas first baseman Kacy Clemens, who had two hits and whose seventh-inning single tied the game at 2. "This is our state and that's how we play.

"That's how we're going to try to play this whole year, keep grinding out ballgames. When we're not playing our best games, it's good to come out and win close ballgames."

Texas (9-3), which scored its runs late, won with solid pitching and clutch hitting. Freshman Morgan Cooper (1-0), the last of three Longhorns pitchers, threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings. The right-hander stymied the Bearkats, who scored their two runs in the first inning off starter Lukas Schiraldi.

"They stayed with their short game, and eventually it's the reason why they won," said Sam Houston State head coach David Pierce. "Morgan Cooper was outstanding, kept us off balance. I credit Morgan and Texas for doing their thing and being in the game."

The deciding run was unearned. Jacob Felts led off the top of the eighth inning and reached second on a two-base throwing error by third baseman Carter Burgess. Felts scored on a sacrifice fly by Collin Shaw, who had two of Texas' 10 hits.

Jason Simms (0-1), the fourth of six pitchers for Sam Houston State (10-2) took the loss. Sam Houston State opened the classic with wins over TCU (9-4) and Texas Tech (10-6).

The Bearkats took a 2-0 lead in the first, with the first two hitters, Colt Atwood -- who had three of the Bearkats' eight hits -- and Ryan O'Hearn, scoring. Shaw and Mark Payton scored in the seventh inning for the Longhorns, who stranded seven runners over the first three innings and 14 for the game.

"We weren't connected in the first couple of innings, and this is a very good team, Sam Houston [State]," said Texas head coach Augie Garrido. "And they're very experienced. They have good players and they [have] got a lot of confidence. But our pitchers did an outstanding job."

The Bearkats had runners in scoring position the final two innings, but were unable to score. In the eighth, Burgess was left at third after a two-out triple. In the ninth, Luke Plucheck was stranded at second base.

Richard Dean is a contributor to
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