The Texas Longhorns (41-21) defeated the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (53-11) by the score of 4-2. The win for Texas pushes a game three in a winner take all trip to Omaha and a chance to play in the College World Series.
Right off the bat, the Longhorns got off to a good start in the top half of the first. Following a lead off walk to David Hamilton, Duke Ellis laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Hamilton over to second and put a runner in scoring position. The first run of the ballgame came off of Kody Clemens’ bat for an RBI double to give Texas an early 1-0 lead. David Pierce’s comment on lack of execution at the plate yesterday seemed to resonate throughout the locker room as the ‘Horns did their individual jobs early.
Subsequent to a 1-2-3 inning for Chase Shugart, the ‘Horns were able to add another run in the top half of the second, as small ball was in full effect. After a Jake McKenzie walk that opened up the inning, Masen Hibbeler followed it up with a sac bunt to move McKenzie to second. Despite struggling as of late, an RBI double for Ryan Reynolds extended the Longhorns lead 2-0.
That lead was cut in half in the bottom half of the second, as Tennessee Tech was able to capitalize off a throwing error from Clemens. Shugart was able to limit the damage with the help from his defense as a groundball resulted in a 6-4-3 double play.
Texas was able to take their two-run lead back in the third thanks to one swing of the bat from Kody Clemens. Clemens, who might have the hottest bat in the NCAA, launched his 23rdhome run over the right field fence to give the ‘Horns a 3-1 advantage.
Move over Roger, a new Clemens might be coming for that nickname.— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 10, 2018
Innings four through six kind of turned into a pitchers duel as the offense for both teams sputtered. Tennessee Tech ace Travis Moths retired 11 in a row as he started hitting his spots with his curveball and kept the Texas hitters off balance. For Chase Shugart, he did a good job of getting the first two outs of the inning, but ran into trouble getting the last out in consecutive innings. However, Shugart was able to keep the most dangerous offense in college baseball in check as he only allowed one run on two hits. Shugart’s day was done after six and his numbers are listed below:
Chase Shugart – 6.0IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 5BB, 5SO, 99 pitches
Fortunately for Shugart, the ‘Horns managed to give the junior pitcher some run support in the seventh. With runners on first and second, Duke Ellis RBI singled up the middle of the infield to score Shaw and put runners on the corner for Kody Clemens. A pitching change for the Golden Eagles proved to be beneficial as Clemens sent one to the track but was caught by center fielder Alex Junior. Nevertheless, the Longhorns extended their lead 4-1 heading into the stretch.
That three-run lead did not hold up for long, as Blair Henley, making his first appearance out of the bullpen this year, allowed a first pitch solo home run to David Garza to trim the lead 4-2. Henley though, was able to put that quickly behind him and managed to retire the next three batters.
Texas had a chance to break the game wide open in the top of the ninth, but couldn’t push a run across despite having the bases loaded.
As in most cases, a two run lead against Tennessee Tech is not that comforting, especially with Chambers, Putzig, and Garza up in the order. Nevertheless, Henley was able to retire the side and secure a Texas win.
The Longhorns got the start that they needed from Chase Shugart from the mound. The combination of Shugart and Henley limited the most dangerous offense in college baseball to two runs on three hits. Since Henley pitched three innings to finish the game, it leaves everyone wondering who they’re going to start tomorrow.
The ‘Horns are likely facing off against left-hander Alex Hursey (8-4, 4.52) and will look to secure a World Series birth for the first time since 2014.
Tomorrow’s game is scheduled to be at noon C.T. and if you can’t make it out to Disch-Falk Field, you can watch the game on ESPN2.