Nathan Thornhill pitched seven solid innings, fellow senior Mark Payton hit a two-run homer and Texas moved within a victory of returning to the College World Series by beating Houston 4-2 Friday.
Thornhill, a right-hander, allowed two runs and seven hits for Texas, which is trying for its record 35th appearance in the College World Series. Payton had three hits, connecting in the first inning for his second home run in 415 at-bats.
Game 2 of the Super Regional is Saturday.
The Longhorns (42-19) made it 4-0 by the time Houston (48-16) scored its only two runs in the fifth, starting the inning with three straight singles off Thornhill.
Cougars starter Jake Lemoine was tagged for four runs in 4 2-3 innings and dropped to 1-7 with a 4.56 ERA in his last nine starts.
Texas is one victory away from going to Omaha for the first time since 2011.
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