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Texas prevails despite unexpected flaws

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Follow Kendall Rogers on Twitter at @ysportsncaabb.

AUSTIN, Texas – Legendary Texas coach Augie Garrido always preaches that what is expected in the game of baseball often doesn't come to fruition.

Friday night's game against rival Texas A&M was yet another example of that theory.

Texas carried a 3-0 lead over A&M into the eighth inning. And with junior right-handed pitcher Chance Ruffin in the game, almost everyone at UFCU Disch-Falk Field figured the game was over. Everyone but the Aggies, that is.

After all, Ruffin only had given up three runs the entire season before the contest.

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Texas closer Chance Ruffin didn't have his best outing on Friday, but his team still beat Texas A&M.
(US Presswire)

Then the unexpected occurred. The Aggies clawed a run across in the eighth and came back with a vengeance in the ninth inning to tie the game at 3-3.

The Longhorns won the game 4-3 in the 11th inning. Even on a night when Ruffin allowed as many runs as he had the entire season.

"It was a really interesting game. All the types of things we have counted on this entire season were things you couldn't count on tonight," Garrido said. "But about Ruffin, you look at him and realize he gave up three runs. But he also showed a lot of survival instincts out there by limiting their damage in the eighth and ninth innings."

Ruffin's uncharacteristic performance still didn't overshadow the pitching matchup between Texas A&M's Barret Loux and Texas' Taylor Jungmann.

Loux, who likely will be a top two-round pick in the upcoming MLB draft, was fantastic much of the game. He struck out eight batters and allowed three runs on five hits in seven innings. He finished the game with 115 pitches.

Jungmann, meanwhile, was himself. The sophomore, who likely will be one of the top five picks in the draft two summers from now, was fabulous. He struck out 11 batters and allowed two hits in seven innings.

"I really thought both of those guys pitched great games," Texas A&M coach Rob Childress said. "They pitched pretty much like they were supposed to pitch."

Garrido was especially pleased with Jungmann's performance.

"I thought Taylor was sensational, absolutely sensational," Garrido said. "In his last five starts, he has had about two outings like this one, only because he was trying to do a little too much. You know, he has all the pressures of being the greatest pitcher in the history of the world in some people's eyes. He just needs to keep things simple."

With the victory, the Longhorns are a win away from earning another series win against the Aggies. Texas also is two wins away from earning a third straight Big 12 series sweep.

Getting to that point was accomplished on Friday despite the unexpected and unfortunate circumstances.

The expected, more often than not, seems to be the label of this team, though.

"It goes back to last year [finding ways to win games]," Jungmann said. "We're once again getting that team chemistry together. We know we can win games [no matter what]."

UC Santa Barbara (16-12) – Good things usually happen for the Gauchos when starting pitcher Mario Hollands pitches like he did against Cal State Fullerton.

Ohio State (20-9) – When starting pitcher Alex Wimmers and the offense is rolling, the Buckeyes have a lethal combination. Just ask Michigan State.

Georgia Tech (29-5) – Life is good when ace pitcher Deck McGuire has a bad outing and the offense still manages to lead you to a victory over Clemson.

South Carolina (27-7) – Blake Cooper's start against Mississippi is a big reason why Gamecock fans might should make early reservations for Omaha, Neb.

Florida State (27-8) – The offense apparently has been a question mark for the Seminoles. That didn't show in a 16-3 thrashing of Duke.

Vanderbilt (28-8) – Yes, Commodores, good things will happen if you give excellent ace pitcher Sonny Gray some help as they did against Auburn.

Southeastern Louisiana (28-8) – This is the only border rivalry that matters this weekend. The first game against Texas State goes to the Lions in convincing fashion.

Kansas State (24-8) – Veteran reliever Thomas Rooke showed his true value in a gutsy performance on the way to a win over Baylor.

Connecticut (25-7) – Yes, folks, we're calling six runs in the final three innings to beat Georgetown an impressive win. After all, it was on the road.

Oregon (22-11) – Nothing says impressive like going on the road and handing UCLA stud pitcher Gerrit Cole his first loss of the season.

Wichita State (21-12) – The Shockers must be frustrated. When it's the pitching, it's not the hitting, and vice versa. On Friday, the hitting didn't show up against Indiana State.

Oregon State (20-9) – The Beavers weren't able to overcome the fact that starting pitcher Greg Peavey had a bad start against Stanford.

Long Beach State (14-16) – Starting pitcher Andrew Gagnon ran out of gas and the Dirtbags floundered against UC Riverside because of it.

Texas A&M (20-12) – With how their season has gone, it only was fitting the Aggies lost to Texas on an error and struck out 17 times.

Alabama (22-13) – The Crimson Tide's loss to LSU boiled down to starting pitcher Adam Morgan having another poor start. This time it was eight runs in two innings.

North Carolina (22-14) – The Tar Heels aren't going to win many games when ace pitcher Matt Harvey allows seven runs in seven innings.

Florida Gulf Coast (21-12) – The Chris Sale we didn't know showed up against Lipscomb on Friday, allowing eight runs in just seven innings.

Kansas (20-14) – With a 3-6 Big 12 record after Friday's loss to Nebraska, the Jayhawks might want to use a lifeline.

Tulane (21-14) – Nothing says we want to be an NCAA regional contender like losing a Friday game at home to UNLV, which has an RPI of 114.

• Texas was a big winner in more ways than one on Friday. In addition to beating rival Texas A&M, the Longhorns climbed to 8 in the latest RPI ratings. Strangely enough, though, that was UT's first win against a Top 25 RPI club this season. We bet you didn't see that little note coming.

• It only was a couple of weeks ago that TCU was sitting with an RPI in the thirties. Now the Horned Frogs are in fantastic shape with a fabulous 26-7 record and an RPI of 18. As long as the Frogs don't have any huge hiccups against teams like Air Force the rest of the way, they should be in good shape to host an NCAA regional. TCU would be an incredibly dangerous team to face in the postseason.

• How amazing would it be if Oregon earned a regional host in its second season of existence? Well, existence since the 1980s, at least. It could happen. With a win over top-ranked UCLA on Friday, the Ducks are up to 26 in the latest RPI. They also don't have a bad resume with a 4-4 record versus Top 25 RPI teams and a 7-6 mark against Top 100 RPI teams.

• Rice continues to make a slow climb in the RPI ratings. The Owls climbed to 31 in the latest RPI after crushing UCF on Friday night. The Owls are 4-4 against Top 25 RPI teams and 7-9 against Top 50 RPI teams. Also worth noting, only two other Conference USA teams – East Carolina and Houston – have RPIs under 70. The Cougars, though, have a losing record and wouldn't be eligible for an NCAA postseason appearance if the season ended today.

• Mississippi continues to dip in the RPI ratings. The Rebels lost a game to high RPI South Carolina on Friday, but still dropped a couple of more spots to 47 with a 23-12 record. The Rebels have a 3-4 record against Top 25 RPI teams and a 6-5 mark against Top 50 RPI teams. They also are just 13-9 against Top 100 teams.

• Conference USA took another hit on Friday night when it dropped to 7 in the Conference RPI rankings. The conference sits behind the SEC, Pac-10, ACC, Big 12, Sun Belt and now the Big West. C-USA easily has been the most disappointing conference this season. The league also doesn't appear to be able to turn things around, either.

• Coastal Carolina recorded a win over Gardner-Webb and improved to an amazing 30-5 on the season. The Chanticleers are in great shape right now for a national seed unless they stumble down the stretch. The Chants have an RPI of 7, a 3-0 record against Top 25 RPI teams and a 14-3 record against Top 50 RPI teams. Also worth mentioning, the Chanticleers are 17-4 against Top 100 RPI teams.

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