The wait is over. For the first time since 2014, Texas is headed back to the College World Series. The Longhorns clinched their return trip to Omaha with a 5-2 win in a decisive game 3 against Tennessee Tech in front of a sellout crowd at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
In his 4th start of the season, Matteo Bocchi received the win. The junior tossed 5 strong innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits while striking out 3. Tennessee Tech starter Alex Hursey took the loss. Hursey allowed 4 runs on 5 hits in 3 innings. After throwing 95 pitches in a start on Saturday, Nolan Kingham recorded the final 2 outs in the 9th inning, notching his 3rd save of the season.
The Longhorns opened the scoring in the bottom of the 2nd. DJ Petrinsky led off the frame with a walk. Two batters later, Masen Hibbeler smacked a double off the left-field wall, advancing Petrinsky to third. Tate Shaw followed by grounding a ball to third basemen Trevor Putzig, who threw home to record the out on Petrinsky. With two outs and runners at the corners, Ryan Reynolds roped a 2-run double to the gap in left-center, giving Texas a 2-0 lead.
The very next inning, Texas stretched their lead to 4-0 with the help of the long ball. Kody Clemens belted his third home run of the super regional, an opposite field solo shot to LF. Later in the frame, DJ Petrinsky cranked a solo home run into the visitors bullpen.
The Golden Eagles responded in the top half of the 4th. Kevin Strohschein led off the inning with a double to left-center, and advanced to 3rd on a groundout to second base. Trevor Putzig, playing through a pulled hamstring, drove home Strohschein with a RBI single to right-field.
Tennessee Tech closed the gap to 4-2 in the top of the 6th. Blair Henley, who relieved Bocchi, opened the inning with two straight walks to Brennon Kaleiwahea and Kevin Strohschein. Josh Sawyer entered the ballgame to replace Henley, and recorded a groundout and a walk to load the bases. The Longhorns then turned to Parker Joe Robinson. Robinson escaped the inning with minimal damage, only allowing a sacrifice fly to David Garza before getting Nick Osborne to ground into a fielder’s choice.
In the bottom half of the inning, Tate Shaw laid down a perfect 1-out bunt single between the pitchers mound and first base. Shaw would advance to second base on a groundout by Ryan Reynolds, bringing up David Hamilton with 2 outs. Hamilton would hit a sky-high pop-up in front of home plate. Tennessee Tech first baseman Chase Chambers charged in, but the ball kicked off his glove and rolled all the way to the backstop, allowing Shaw to score and extend the Texas lead to 5-2.
Robinson held the potent Tennessee Tech offense in check during the 7th and 8th innings before allowing a lead-off single to David Garza to open the 9th. Andy McGuire took over the mound and struck out Nick Osborne for the first out. After a walk to Collin Harris, David Pierce opted to bring in Kingham. The right-hander got John Ham to fly out to the warning track in LF for the second out. Alex Junior then worked a walk to load the bases, but the Golden Eagles were unable to capitalize. Brennon Kaleiwahea grounded out to David Hamilton, sending Texas to the College World Series.
The Longhorns will begin play in Omaha on Sunday against the winner of the Arkansas/South Carolina Super Regional.