A quiet offensive evening for the Texas Longhorns finally found some life in the bottom of the eighth inning when the Longhorns cranked out all three of their extra-base hits, including a go-ahead three-run home run by left fielder Porter Brown that vaulted Texas to a 4-2 victory over the Indiana Hoosiers on Friday evening.
It was the only hit with a runner in scoring position in 10 chances for Texas, which also went 2-of-14 with runners on base and failed to secure a two-out base hit. Brown was the standout, however, with three of the eight hits for the Horns, which also received two from center fielder Eric Kennedy at the top of the order.
So the victory wasn’t exactly how Texas head coach David Pierce might draw it up against a program projected as mid tier in the Big Ten, but these Longhorns are currently in the market for wins regardless of how they come about.
Keep stacking them. Keep improving.
After left-hander Lucas Gordon struck out the side in the top of the first, Texas had the first opportunity to put a run on the board when Kennedy reached on a bunt single and advanced to second on a passed ball. Right fielder Dylan Campbell sacrificed Kennedy to third, but Brown struck out swinging and catcher Garret Guillemette grounded out to shortstop.
Gordon appeared ready to cruise through the second inning, as well, retiring the first two batters before his command faltered in issuing consecutive walks and elevating his pitch count, though he escaped the self-created jam with his fifth strikeout. By the end of the third, Gordon was up to 65 pitches despite only allowing one hit.
Like Indiana, Texas struggled to get anything going at the plate, stranding first baseman Jared Thomas after a leadoff single in the first before Brown wasted a leadoff single when he was picked off.
A double play by Texas erased a single in the fourth inning, but Gordon conceded a run in the fifth after a leadoff infield single, hit by pitch, sacrifice bunt, and sacrifice fly. Another base-running mistake hurt the Horns when shortstop Mitchell Daly was thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a double to lead off the fifth inning.
The sixth inning featured more high-stress pitches for Gordon after a leadoff double, a groundout that advanced the runner to third, and nine-pitch walk on a full count that ultimately ended Gordon’s evening in favor of right-hander Heston Tole. Gordon’s final line — four hits and one earned run over 5.2 innings with seven strikeouts and three walks. Tole induced a groundout to first to end the frame.
The Longhorns finally notched their first run of the night in the bottom half of the inning, manufacturing the score when Campbell reached on a full-count walk, Brown singled, and Guillemette hit a sacrifice fly to left field.
Still facing Tole, the Hoosiers responded with another run via three consecutive singles before the Razorbacks transfer departed in favor of left-hander Chris Stuart, who was able to strand two runners with a groundout.
Following two quick half innings, Kennedy led off the eighth with a double to deep center field and Campbell drew a walk. Instead of settling for a sacrifice bunt, Pierce allowed Brown to swing away and the TCU transfer responded with a go-ahead three-run home run to right center.
Guillemette continued with the offensive surge with a double to left field, but pinch hitting Ace Whitehead for designated hitter Jalin Flores didn’t work with a flyout to center field, leading to a pitching change for Indiana. The decision worked paid off for the Hoosiers when right-hander Brayden Risedorph retired second baseman Jack O’Dowd and Daly to limit the damage.
Stuart stayed in to finish the game and retired Indiana in order in the bottom of the ninth to secure the first save and second win of the season for Texas.
The Longhorns go for the series win with right-hander Zane Morehouse on the mound at 1 p.m. Central on Longhorn Network.