For the first time during the NCAA Tournament, Texas faced elimination. After dropping game 1 to Tennessee Tech, the Longhorns found their backs against the wall heading into game 2. Texas responded with a 4-2 victory over the Golden Eagles, forcing a game 3 Monday afternoon to determine who advances to the College World Series.
Texas received a good outing from Chase Shugart, who picked up his 6th win of the season. The junior tossed 6 innings, allowing 1 unearned runs on 2 hits while striking out 5 and walking 5. Sophomore Blair Henley picked up his first career save in relief of Shugart. Henley worked the final 3 innings, allowing a run on one hit and striking out 3.
Travis Moths took the loss for Tennessee Tech, dropping his record to 13-3. Moths allowed 4 runs on 6 hits in 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out 5 and walked 4.
The Longhorns opened the scoring in the top of the 1st. David Hamilton led off the game with his first of his 3 walks on the afternoon. After a sacrifice bunt from Duke Ellis advanced him to second, Hamilton came home on a double into right-center off the bat of Kody Clemens, giving Texas a 1-0 lead.
The two teams traded runs in the 2nd inning. Jake McKenzie walked to lead off the frame and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Masen Hibbeler. Two batters later, Ryan Reynolds blooped a RBI double into LF out of the reach of a diving Collin Harris. In the bottom half of the inning, Tennessee Tech quickly put two runners on via a single by Chase Chambers and a walk to Trevor Putzig. David Garza then hit a slow grounder to David Hamilton, who threw to Kody Clemens for the force at second base. Clemens throw to first to potentially complete the double play sailed wide of McKenzie, allowing Chambers to score and cut the deficit to 2-1.
Kody Clemens quickly responded by blasting a 1-out solo home run to RF in the top of the 3rd, his 23rd of the season.
In the 7th, Texas received a big insurance run. Masen Hibbeler led off the frame with a walk, which brought Tate Shaw to the plate. The Longhorns attempted to execute a hit-and-run, but Shaw lined a ball that hit Hibbeler as he was running to second. Hibbeler was called out and Shaw was awarded first base. Shaw eventually would steal 2nd and score on a 2-out RBI single up the middle from Duke Ellis, stretching the Longhorns lead to 4-1.
In his first relief appearance of the season, Blair Henley surrendered a solo home run to David Garza on the first pitch he threw in the bottom of the 7th, cutting the Texas lead to 4-2. However, it would be the only hit the Golden Eagles would get off the right-hander. Henley would then retire 9 straight hitters, securing the win for Texas.
Texas and Tennessee Tech will meet tomorrow in a decisive game 3 at noon with a trip to Omaha on the line. The Golden Eagles will go with junior LHP Alex Hursey (8-4, 4.52 ERA) on the mound. David Pierce did not announce a starter for game 3 following the win.