Woo! Jordan Etier (!) of all people hit the Longhorns' first homerun of the year, leading off the third inning with a solo shot. By the end of that frame Texas had added two unearned runs to bring the score to 5-0, and Texas seemed to be cruising. But the Roadrunners produced a five-spot in the top of the eighth inning off of three different Texas pitchers (Stayton Thomas, Kendal Carrillo, and Corey Knebel). Texas then left the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning, and a runner interference call robbed them of a two-on no-out opportunity in the ninth.
That set the stage for extras, and a veteran stepped up. With two men on and two men out, Tant Shepherd got a hold of one and deposited it over the left field wall for an 8-5 victory. It was a lovely time for Texas' second homerun of the game (and the season), and the few fans remaining by the end of the game were treated to some walk-off excitement.
The big question going into the game was how Cole Green would fare in the start. He acquitted himself extremely well, pitching like a guy who can sense that his weekend rotation spot may be in jeopardy. He went four full innings, allowing no runs, only one hit (to the leadoff man, inside the infield), and--perhaps most impressively--striking out nine. Green faced a total of 13 hitters. Only two reached base--the leadoff infield single (which runner was immediately picked off) and an error by third baseman Kevin Lusson. Both baserunners were in the first inning: his final nine hitters were all retired, and all by Green himself. He K'd eight of them and the other grounded out to Green.
We see three major events in tonight's game:
1. Green's excellent performance. Hopefully this will be the confidence boost he needs to get back on track in his weekend appearances
2. The error in the first was only one of three for Lusson at third. The other two were instrumental in UTSA's 8th inning rally. That's a concern.
3. The manner in which the team won this one shows character. Freshman Corey Knebel was strong on the mound from the time he came in to stop the bleeding in the 8th until finishing the ballgame. He went 3.2 innings, allowing only one hit and striking out six. Then, after stranding runners in the 8th, 9th, and 10th innings the Texas hitters finally busted through in the 11th with Shepherd's big shot. The win shows some team moxie, and winning like this builds collective confidence.