The Texas Longhorns fell behind in the second inning, but sent 13 batters to the plate during an explosive nine-run third inning to push past the No. 9 Miami Hurricanes 10-6 on Sunday in the Coral Gables Regional at Mark Light Field to advance to the Super Regionals.
Texas right-hander Tanner Witt paid for command issues in the second inning — after hitting the first two batters, Witt grooved a 2-1 fastball to Miami shortstop Dominic Pitelli, who made no mistake off it on a long home run to left field to hand the Hurricanes a 3-0 lead. With right-hander Zane Morehouse warming up with urgency in the bullpen, Witt was able to retire three of the next four batters to end the inning, but not before another scare with a ball hit to the warning track in left field for the final out.
After Witt threw 41 pitches in two innings, Texas head coach David Pierce opted to bring in right-hander Charlie Hurley, who retired the side in order in the third to open his outing.
In the bottom of the third, the Longhorns offense came to life with a vengeance after the first seven batters were retired by the Hurricanes. Second baseman Jack O’Dowd started the rally with a single, then shortstop Mitchell Daly drew a walk. First baseman Jared Thomas drove in the first run by Texas with a double to right field, third baseman Peyton Powell tied the game with a single, his first hit of the regional, and catcher Garret Guillemette doubled home two more runs after right fielder Dylan Campbell extended his conference-record hitting streak to 38 games with a single.
Left fielder Porter Brown and center fielder Eric Kennedy continued the momentum by drawing back-to-back walks to load the bases with one out as eight straight batters reached base. Designated hitter Jalin Flores blew the game open, driving the first pitch he saw — a hanging breaking ball — over the wall in center field for a grand slam, his fourth home run of the season.
By the time the inning ended, the Horns had sent 13 batters to the plate, scoring nine runs on seven hits.
Kennedy helped Hurley out to lead off the fourth, coming in to make a diving catch, yet another strong play in the outfield for Texas in Coral Gables. The infield defense didn’t hold up as well in the inning with Thomas committing an error at first base with two outs, but Hurley bounced back by retiring the next batter and keeping Miami off the board. Another error in the fifth, this time by Daly, resulted in another extra baserunner for Hurley. Once again, Hurley responded, inducing a double play with runners on first and second.
When two singles put runners on first and second in the sixth inning, Hurley stranded them with a sharp full-count breaking ball that produced a swing and a miss.
The Texas offense was finally threatening again in the sixth inning with Daly opening the half inning with a bunt single with the Hurricanes eventually loading the bases after back-to-back two-out walks. The lead moved to 10-3 when Brown was hit in the hand by a pitch, a close call upheld on review. Miami escaped further damage, however, as Kennedy popped out to second for the inning’s final out.
Then the Hurricanes caused some significant damage, chasing Hurley after 4.1 innings when he hit a batter, walked another, then gave up a three-run home run to Miami’s slugger YoYo Morales. On in relief, Morehouse striking out the first four batters he faced, eventually allowing a two-out single in the eighth, but retiring the side on a bunt attempt. In the ninth, Morehouse issued a one-out walk and fell behind Morales before recovering to strike him out, as well as the next batter — Morehouse struck out seven of the 10 batters he faced over 2.2 innings.
Texas is paired with the winner of the Palo Alto Regional with No. 8-seed Stanford facing an elimination game against Texas A&M on Sunday evening at 8 p.m. Central.