Tuesday night, the Texas Longhorns (31-17) defeated the Texas State Bobcats (22-22-1) 11-10 in a wild back-and-forth affair thanks to a walk-off grand slam by David Hamilton.
Coming into this game, Texas needed to get back on track after a disappointing series loss against West Virginia. The Longhorns are currently projected as a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, and tonight’s win could very well be looked backed on as the game which Texas needed to host a regional.
Texas got off to a slow start defensively, as the Bobcats were able to take advantage and score the first three runs run in the ballgame. A couple of uncharacteristic miscues from Hamilton in the first allowed a run in, and in the third, the Bobcats were able to get a couple more to extend their lead 3-0.
The Longhorns were able to flip the script in the bottom half of the third and take the lead along with any momentum Texas State had in prior innings. An RBI double from Masen Hibbeler that scored Tate Shaw got things started for the ‘Horns. A Kody Clemens RBI groundout added run and then Zach Zubia followed that up with an RBI double to tie the game. The final run in the third came off of Hamilton’s bat, as he redeemed himself at the plate with an RBI single to give the Longhorns the lead 4-3.
Texas wasn’t done there, as they were able to add a pair in the fourth to extend their lead 6-3. DJ Petrinsky, who has been coming into his own lately, led off the inning with a first-pitch home run. After executing small-ball tactics, Texas added another off a Hibbeler sacrifice fly to score Shaw from third.
In a game filled with momentum swings, Texas State scored seven unanswered runs throughout the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings to take the lead back from the ‘Horns 10-6. Up until the eighth inning, eight pitchers were used, and only produced one strikeout when Andy McGuire came into the seventh.
With the ‘Horns down four, and down to their last three outs, Texas needed a miracle to escape with a win. That’s exactly what happened. After a Kody Clemens single to center field, Hibbeler scored on a throwing error to bring the score to 10-7. Remaining patient at the plate, and the miniature crowed getting rowdy; Texas was able to load the bases with no outs.
Then... David Hamilton. A walk-off grand slam hammered to right field gave the Horns the win and a moment where I asked myself “What just happened?” The win kept the Longhorns undefeated in midweek home games under David Pierce.
Getting the win is all that matters. However, the negative to take away from this game was the ineptitude from the bullpen. Nine pitchers were used throughout tonight’s game as hardly any of them gave David Pierce the confidence that they could be used in post-season play. Walks outnumbered strikeouts 5-1 tonight, and that’s more than likely not going to get it done.
Fortunately, Hamilton played the role of hero.
Texas has a huge matchup with the Texas Tech Red Raiders this coming weekend as their hopes of hosting a regional hangs in the balance. Be on the lookout for a weekend preview against Tech later this week.