Texas 9, Nebraska 6, 10 innings
Monday, May 27th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) _ Dustin Majewski and the Texas Longhorns can play small ball too.
Majewski had a key sacrifice bunt and two RBI singles, the second driving home the go-ahead run in the 10th inning, and the Longhorns beat Nebraska 9-6 Sunday for their first Big 12 Conference tournament title.
``We took care of all of the little things that matter,'' Texas coach Augie Garrido said. ``The game was extremely hard fought, and a very aggressive game.''
Majewski hit four of the tournament record 10 homers by the Longhorns (48-14). But the tournament MVP contributed big with smaller hits in the title game, with a bunt before Texas scored twice in the eighth and his second single in the 10th.
``When things are going your way, you have to ride it as long as you can,'' said Majewski, who had a tournament record 13 hits and 11 RBIs.
Both teams were already assured NCAA bids, but Texas added the league's automatic berth to its Big 12 regular season championship. The Longhorns' last conference tournament title was in the old Southwest Conference in 1994.
Nebraska (42-18) had won the past three Big 12 tournaments. The Cornhuskers, who had an 11-game winning streak snapped, will get an at-large bid when the 64-team NCAA field Monday.
``It's frustrating, but our seasons starts now,'' said Nebraska center fielder Jeff Leise, who had his 34th multihit game with three singles. ``We've played good baseball, and now we'll look to get on another roll.''
After Nebraska came back from a 4-0 deficit to tie the game, Majewski batted with two on and no outs in the eighth. He initially missed the unexpected signal, but then laid a perfect bunt down the third base line.
``I wasn't sure what was going on,'' said Majewski, who hadn't had a sacrifice all season. ``I was just hoping it would stay fair.''
``He never had any hesitation, once he knew what we were trying to do,'' Garrido said.
Jeff Ontiveros, who was hit by a pitch to start the eighth, then scored when Aaron Marsden threw the pitch three feet wide of catcher John Grose and to the backstop while trying to issue an intentional walk. Michael Hollimon added an RBI single to score Ryan Hubele, who had walked, for a 6-4 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, after Daniel Bruce reached on a disputed hit by pitch, Jed Morris had an RBI single and Matt Hopper hit a sacrifice fly and the game was tied at 6.
Hubele, whose three-run homer in the third gave Texas a 4-0 lead, led off the 10th against Waylon Byers (1-5) with a double. He scored the go-ahead run on a bang-bang play when his foot hit the plate at the same time of Grose's tag after Majewski singled to right. Eric Sultemeier's solo homer and Tim Moss' RBI triple came after that.
Freshman Huston Street, the fifth Texas pitcher, got the final five outs in his fourth appearance of the tournament in which he got two wins and a save. He allowed only a single to Leise in the 10th.
Majewski put Texas ahead 1-0 with an RBI single in the second. That scored Ontiveros, who struck out but reached on a passed ball.
Will Bolt hit an RBI triple in the sixth for Nebraska. The Cornhuskers then batted around in the seventh, getting an RBI single by Grose and scoring on a hit batsman and a walk with the bases loaded for a 4-4 tie.
``We're disappointed we lost, but we're a confident team,'' said Nebraska coach Dave Van Horn. ``Whatever happened this weekend, we'll learn from it.''
Texas was only the second team to come of the loser's bracket to get into the Big 12 tournament championship game. Nebraska did it in 2000.