LAS VEGAS -- After scoring nine runs on 15 hits, the Longhorns held off another ninth-inning rally by the Rebels as No. 8 Texas pulled out a 9-8 victory over UNLV in front of 2,143 fans at Earl E. Wilson Stadium on Sunday, March 5.
With the win over the Rebels (6-9), the Longhorns (10-8) snapped a two-game losing skid and salvaged the final game of their three-game series in Las Vegas, Nev.
After starters Riley Boening (Yoakum, Texas) for UT and Kevin Skogley for UNLV worked two scoreless innings apiece to open the ballgame, the Rebels used a leadoff walk followed by a sacrifice, an infield hit and RBI-grounder off the bat of Zach Borba to claim a 1-0 lead in the third. Answering right back in the top of the fourth, Drew Stubbs (Atlanta, Texas) walked to open the frame, stole second and scored on a RBI-single from Carson Kainer (Tomball, Texas) to tie the score at 1-1. After the Horns then had Kainer cut down at the plate on a attempted suicide squeeze, the Rebels went back in front by a score of 2-1 in the bottom of the inning as Keith Smith doubled and scored on a throwing error to home plate with one out.
Continuing to respond, the Horns placed runners on the corners with one out in the fifth via a hit batter, a sacrifice and a bunt single before consecutive singles from Nick Peoples (Round Rock, Texas) and Jordan Danks (Round Rock, Texas) gave Texas its first lead of the game at 3-2. Both teams put threats together in the fifth and sixth, respectively, but relievers Kyle Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) for UT and Jabe Beard for UNLV worked out of the jams to keep it a one-run contest.
In the seventh, a leadoff home run from Peoples followed by a Danks single, a Stubbs double and a two-run base hit off the bat of Bradley Suttle (Boerne, Texas) staked the Longhorns to a 6-2 lead. Rallying right back in the bottom half of the inning, UNLV combined a one-out, bunt-single with a balk, a RBI-double from Braden Walker and run-scoring base hit from Michael Brenly to pull within two at 6-4. Still alive in the frame, a walk put the tying run on base with two away for the Rebels, but Joey Parigi (Monterey, Calif.) struck out his very next batter to keep UT on top. Two errors around a sacrifice and a walk then yielded two scores for the Horns in the top of the eighth to make it 8-4 in favor of Texas. Failing to go quietly, UNLV got a run back in the bottom of the eighth courtesy of a triple from Smith and a sac fly from Chad Miller before another error placed a runner at third with two down. Austin Wood (Kingwood, Texas), who became Texas' fifth pitcher of the day, then induced a flyout to move the game to the ninth.
After UT scratched across a run in the top of the ninth to make it a 9-5 ballgame, the Rebels loaded the bases with no outs on a walk and two singles to bring the tying run to the plate. Wood then got a short fly out and a strikeout to keep the bases full with two down, but Smith followed with a fly ball that was dropped and brought in three runs. Now, with the tying run on second in a 9-8 contest, Wood induced his next batter to foul out to first base to preserve the win and earn his first career save. Picking up the victory was Walker, who allowed only one unearned run on one hit and struck out two over three innings of relief, while Beard incurred the loss for UNLV.
Headlining the Texas offense on the day were four players with at least two hits, including Peoples, who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a pair of RBI, Danks, who posted three hits, and Stubbs, who extended his current hit streak to 12 games with a 2-for-4 effort. Paving the way for the Rebels' eight-hit attack, meanwhile, was Smith, who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, and C.J. Lang, who scored one run while driving in another and collecting a pair of hits. Of additional note for UT, Peoples finished the three-game series by going a combined 11-for-14 (.786) with seven runs scored, two home runs and six RBI.
Up next, the Horns travel to Reckling Park in Houston, Texas, for a 7 p.m. Central tilt against No. 1 Rice on Tuesday, March 7.