Zane Gurwitz broke a tie with a two-run single in the eighth inning and fifth-seeded Texas won the Big 12 championship Sunday, beating second-seeded Oklahoma State 6-3.
The Longhorns (30-25) earned an automatic NCAA Tournament berth, winning the conference tournament for the record fifth time and first since 2009.
Oklahoma State (37-18) lost in the title game for the second consecutive year.
The right-handed hitting Gurwitz, who entered Sunday batting .257, was selected the tournament’s most outstanding player. He had had eight hits in 13 at-bats with three RBIs.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
“Zane’s made some adjustments,” Texas coach Augie Garrido said. “Both of his hits today were to right field and he hadn’t been using right field. He’s got his game back together.”
The Longhorns were helped by three errors as they erased a 2-1 deficit with five runs in the eighth.
“We have a bunch of fighters,” Texas catcher Tres Barrera said.
Barrera’s one-out squeeze bunt drove in the tying run and he reached first on pitcher Carson LaRue’s error. After Collin Shaw drew a walk from Tyler Nurdin to load the bases, Gurwitz slapped the go-ahead hit down the right-field line.
“All I had to do was put the ball in play and I found a hole,” Gurwitz said.
Brooks Marlow’s squeeze bunt drove in Shaw from third. Pinch-hitter Patrick Mathis then lined a RBI single to make it 6-2. Mathis had been hitless in 15 at-bats this season.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Cowboys’ first four batters reached base and Dustin Williams’ RBI single cut Texas’ lead to 6-3. But with the bases loaded and no outs, reliever Kirby Bellow escaped without additional scoring as Tim Arakawa struck out and David Petrino grounded into a double play.
Kyle Johnston, Parker French and Bellow combined on a six-hitter. French (5-3) pitched an inning to pick up his second win of the tournament. Johnston allowed three hits and two runs, walked two and struck out seven in six-plus innings.
Johnston was the only Texas starter in four tournament games not to go the distance. The Longhorns allowed seven runs in the tournament.
“Obviously the name of the game has always been pitching and that was the name of the game for our team,” Garrido said. “All four starters did an excellent job.”
Remey Reed (3-2) was charged with the loss, allowed two unearned runs in one-third of an inning.
Oklahoma State took a 2-1 lead in the seventh on Bryan Case’s ground out that scored Arakawa from third base. The Cowboys, however, could not hold the lead as their defensive miscues in rainy conditions in the eighth proved costly.
“A tough ballgame,” Cowboys coach Josh Holliday said. “Compliments to Texas, they’re a fine team. I am very proud of our team. This tournament was very good for us.
“I wouldn’t say it was an easy field to play. It was a little bit of a wet day, but it was wet for both sides.”