Big 12 Championship: Top-Seeded Texas Shutout, Eliminated in 6-0 Loss to Kansas State

Cash Rugely of Kansas State celebrates reaching second base in the Wildcats’ 6-0 victory over the University of Texas at Globe Life Field. (Photo Courtesy of the Big 12 Conference)

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

ARLINGTON, Texas- On the first day of the Big 12 Baseball Championship, top-seeded Texas found its way to the loser’s bracket.

On the second day, they found themselves eliminated, suffering a 6-0 loss to fifth-seeded Kansas State, and will now have to wait and see how far they fell in the Ratings Percentage Index, which will be used to determine seeding for the NCAA Tournament. 

The Longhorns lost to eighth-seeded University of Kansas 6-3 yesterday, and exit the Big 12 Championship with a 38-20 record.

“I have always said that we are the one seed in the third or fourth best league in the country,” said Texas coach David Pierce. “The tournament should never hurt you, if anything it helps and maybe solidifies it (a regional).” 

“I do not control it and I know the committee has a tough job, and they do a great job. I feel in my heart that I really believe our league deserves that, and we will see what happens,” Pierce said, asked whether he thinks his program has done enough to play in the regionals of the NCAA tournament in spite of the quick exit from the Big 12 Championship.

In the top of the first inning, the Wildcats got on the board when Dom Hughes singled down the right field line, scoring center fielder Brendan Jones.

Kansas State University starting pitcher Ty Ruhl went five innings, allowing just one hit, walking three batters, and striking out four during his pivotal start.

“I always think it’s a new day, just show up, trust my abilities, trust my defense, trust my coaches to make the right pitch call and tomorrow’s a new day to get back to work. The job’s never done, keep going,” Ruhl said.

Texas starter Lebarron Johnson Jr. went six innings, allowing eight hits, two earned runs, no walks, and striking out two batters, keeping his team in the game.

But then, in the top of the seventh inning, the Wildcats opened up the floodgates, burning the Longhorns bullpen for five runs. The scoring barrage started when Jones drew a four-pitch bases-loaded walk to score Kaelen Culpepper and make it 2-0.

The next batter, right fielder Cash Rugely, singled to center field, scoring Cole Johnson. Then designated hitter Dom Hughes drew a bases-loaded walk to score Raphael Pelletier.

Shortstop Nick Goodwin nailed the Longhorns’ coffin shut with a two-run double to left field that scored Rugely and Jones and made it 6-0.

“We’re trying to get back in to play in this tournament to win a championship. Just really proud of our boys and how they responded,” said Kansas head coach Pete Hughes. “We had some great effort, Ty Ruhl who’s accustomed to coming out of the bullpen and basically got a spot start here for the second week in a row in a win or go home and was lights out against a fantastic offensive team. And he was sick all day doing it and didn’t feel good, and neither did our closer Tyson Neighbors, a little bug is going around. Guys playing for each other, playing for their teammates. Just really exemplifying toughness, which is what we’re all about.” 

Wildcats relief pitcher Tyson Neighbors pitched four innings in relief allowing just one hit, walking three batters, and striking out eight.

Kansas State is still alive, looking for its’ first Big 12 conference tournament championship.

Kansas State will play Kansas tomorrow at 4 p.m. EDT on ESPN+.

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