No. 2 seed Texas Longhorns baseball (38-22) defeated the No. 3 seed UCLA Bruins (30-26) 3-2 in the first round of the NCAA regional tournament in Long Beach, California on Friday night.
The game was predictably a pitchers’ duel between UCLA’s Griffin Canning and Texas’ Nolan Kingham. Both were efficient and dominant for most of the game.
Canning notched 7.2 innings and let up three runs (two earned), six hits, two walks, and six strikeouts. Kingham went 7.2 innings and allowed one run, six hits, no walks, and five strikeouts.
The first run of the game came on a solo shot from Kacy Clemens in the bottom of the fourth with two outs. It was the senior star’s 12th dinger of the season -- a team high.
Kingham didn’t face any trouble until the top of the seventh inning. The sophomore hit the lead off hitter for the second straight inning and then allowed a base hit to put runners on first and second.
Kingham them responded with a strikeout. With one down, Kacy Clemens chased down a foul ball near the fence to make it two outs, though a runner advanced to third. David Hamilton then got a ground out to leave runners stranded on the corners and get Texas out of the inning.
Travis Jones got the ‘Horns going in the bottom of the seventh with a liner to short that was dropped. Kacy Clemens was then put away on a strikeout.
Austin Todd came to the plate, and Travis Jones stole second on a pitch out. Jones was hit with the throw, sending the ball to the outfield. With the ball in center, he was able to take third base on the play.
Todd popped out to the infield to give the Bruins two outs. Brett Boswell then notched a base hit to the gap to give Texas a 2-0 lead.
UCLA started off with a bang in the eighth — only this time it wasn’t a leadoff hit by pitch. Ryan Kreidler crushed a ball well past the left field fence to pull the Bruins to within one.
Nolan got two outs before allowing a two out double. David Pierce then brought in Beau Ridgeway, who struck out UCLA’s best hitter, Sean Bouchard, to end the threat.
Texas got its two run lead back in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Patrick Mathis was walked on a full count. Zane Gurwitz got an opposite field base knock and Travis Jones then hit one in the right field gap to score Mathis and make it 3-1.
In the ninth, Beau Ridgeway got a strikeout to begin the inning. He then allowed a double and a walk to put runners on first and second. An RBI single up the middle then brought UCLA to 3-2 and put runners on first and second.
A pop fly to right gave the ‘Horns two outs, and a pop out to Boswell ended the game.
Texas is now 4-0 against UCLA this season. The Longhorns previously swept the Bruins in March in a three game series at the Disch.
Expect Morgan Cooper to take the mound for the ‘Horns tomorrow. The Golden Spikes award semi-finalist currently hones a 2.32 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 81.1 innings pitched.
What gave Texas the edge in this one was great defense and clutch two-out hitting. The ‘Horns struggled with runners in scoring position in the Big 12 championship game, but all three runs came with two outs against UCLA tonight.
The Longhorns will now advance to the winners bracket to play the victor of No. 1 seed Long Beach State and No. 4 seed San Diego State. That game will take place at 10 pm CST tonight.