The lower seeds in the Big 12 Baseball Championship continue to pull off surprises. Just a couple of hours after eighth-seeded Kansas State knocked off and knocked out Oklahoma State from this year's conference championship tournament in Oklahoma City, Kansas, the seventh seed did the same to perennial power Texas, downing the Longhorns 4-2 to move into the third round on Friday.
Oklahoma State came into the conference championship seeded fifth, but lost in consecutive games to Bedlam rival Oklahoma and then 11-5 to Kansas State on Thursday. Texas failed to survive against two local teams. Sixth-seeded Missouri shutout the Longhorns 5-0 on Wednesday, sending last season's co-conference champion in the regular season to the elimination round, where Kansas shut down the Horns' offense a second straight day, allowing them only two runs in a 4-2 Jayhawk victory.
Kansas scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning, which turned out to be all the Jayhawks needed for the victory. Texas scored one run in the third and another in its final at bat in the ninth.
Freshman left-hander Wes Benjamin started for Kansas and went six innings, allowing just five hits and one run. Catcher James Stanfield and first baseman Chris Manship went two for three and two for four, respectively at the plate, each scoring a run, to lead the Jayhawks.
The Jayhawks' second-round victory over Texas marked the Longhorns' sixth loss in its last nine games, which is sure to affect their seeding in the NCAA Tournament, which begins next week. Meanwhile Kansas now moves on and will play the loser of Thursday night's game between Missouri and Texas A&M, the No, 2 seed. Should Missouri lose to A&M, the Tigers would then engage in yet one more Border Showdown against longtime archrival Kansas.
The Kansas victory over Texas was the Jayhawks' first in three meetings with the Longhorns in the Big 12 Championship and only the 17th win in 59 games between the two schools all-time.
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