For the first time since 2014, Texas baseball will be playing in a super regional. In front of a crowd of just under 7,000 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, the Longhorns defeated Indiana, 3-2, to give the program their first regional championship in 4 years. The win puts Texas in a super regional against the winner of the Oxford regional, which will play its championship game(s) tomorrow.
Texas received a brilliant pitching performance from Blair Henley. The sophomore tossed 7 1/3 innings, allowing 2 unearned runs and striking out 8. Chase Shugart entered from the bullpen to throw the final 2/3 innings to lock down his first save of the season. Indiana starter Andrew Saalfrank received a no-decision after throwing 5 1/3 innings in only his 4th start of the season. The left-hander allows 2 runs on 6 hits and struck out 8.
The Longhorns opened the scoring in the 2nd inning. Masen Hibbeler led off the inning with a walk and advanced to 3rd on a perfectly executed hit-and-run by Ryan Reynolds. DJ Petrinsky grounded into 4-6-3 double play, but Hibbeler scored on the play to give Texas an early 1-0 lead.
The Hoosiers responded with 2 runs of their own in the bottom of the 3rd. Scotty Bradley opened the frame with single and advanced to 3rd on a throwing error by Ryan Reynolds, who was trying to get a force out at 2nd on a ground ball off the bat of Justin Walker. Jeremy Houston quickly singled home Bradley to tie the game at 1. Later in the frame, Luke Miller collected the first of his 3 hits on a RBI single to drive home Walker, giving Indiana a 2-1 lead.
In the 6th, Texas would knot the game at 2 on a solo home run by Zach Zubia, his 11th of the season.
Appropriately, it was the bat of Kody Clemens that helped Texas regain the lead in the 7th. Clemens stepped to the plate with 2 outs and David Hamilton at 1st. After working a full count, the regional MVP lined a double to the RF wall, scoring Hamilton and giving Texas a 3-2 lead.
The Hoosier did not go quietly, though. Texas closer Andy McGuire began the 9th inning by allowing a single to Ryan Fineman and hitting Scotty Bradley. After striking out Justin Walker, McGuire walked Jeremy Houston to load the bases. David Pierce then turned to Chase Shugart, who started the regional opener against Texas Southern and threw 69 pitches. Shugart struck out pinch hitter Sam Crail to set up a 2-out, bases loaded showdown with Matt Lloyd. Early in the at-bat, Lloyd fouled a pitch down the left-field line. Masen Hibbeler reached into the stands and appeared to catch the ball, but as he was pulling his glove back into the field of play, the ball came out and hit the ground. Third base umpire Tim Vessey ruled the play a foul ball. It did not end making a difference. Shugart eventually struck out Lloyd, giving the Longhorns the regional championship.
Texas will await the results of the Oxford regional to find out their next opponent. Ole Miss currently sits at 2-0 and will play 2-1 Tennessee Tech in the regional championship tomorrow afternoon. The NCAA will announce days and times for the super regional match-ups tomorrow as well.