March 8, 2011
Box Score |
| Box Score
AUSTIN, Texas—After being up by five runs for most of the game, the No. 5 Texas Longhorns needed some extra inning heroics to defeat the UTSA Roadrunners, 8-5, in 11 innings on Tuesday evening at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
Senior Tant Shepherd, who entered his final plate appearance 0-for-4 on the evening, fouled off five pitches in the at-bat before blasting the eighth offering from relief pitcher Kevin Clarke into the visitor’s bullpen in leftfield.
“Coach always tells us that every inning and every at-bat is a new battle,” Shepherd said. “I wanted to go up there and win the battle and get on base and keep the rally going. I had to foul a couple off, but then got a pitch I could hit… Once I hit it, I could tell it was gone.”
The game-winning rally started with two outs in the 11th inning. Jonathan Walsh singled through the right side and stole second base to get into scoring position. A wild pitch on ball-four to Jacob Felts put runners on the corners and Felts stole second base on the seventh pitch of Shepherd’s at-bat to take away the force play at second base. On the next pitch, Shepherd delivered the end game.
The Horns (8-4) pounced early with a pair of runs in the second inning. Walsh reached on an infield single and Felts followed with a walk. After both runners advanced into scoring position on a double steal, Kevin Lusson laced a two-run single through the left side of the infield.
In the third inning, Jordan Etier launched a home run to left field to make the score 3-0. Etier’s dinger was Texas’ first of the season. UTSA pitcher D.D. Towler followed with a pair of throwing errors on bunts, which Brandon Loy to score and put Mark Payton in scoring position. Back-to-back walks by Towler loaded the bases for Felts, who grounded out to first for an RBI, inflating the cushion to 5-0.
UTSA (6-9) took advantage of a pair of Longhorns’ errors in the eighth inning to tie the game. With Stayton Thomas pitching, Matthew James reached on a single through the left side and Mike Warren was hit by a pitch to put a pair of runners on. Kendal Carrillo entered the game and appeared to induce a double-play grounder, but it went through the legs of Lusson at third base allowing James to score from second. Two batters later, Lusson was errant on a throw to the plate allowing Warren to score from third. Tyler Carpenter then singled to shallow outfield, scoring Riley Good from second to cut the lead to 5-3. Texas pitcher Corey Knebel replaced Carrillo on the mound but gave up a two-run double to Jake Wood, knotting the game at 5-5.
The Longhorns got a strong performance from Cole Green in his fourth start of the season. Green, who had suffered losses in his first two home games of the year, was scheduled to work four innings and made the most of his outing. He came up one strikeout shy of a career-best, fanning nine of the 13 batters he faced in 4.0 scoreless innings. He allowed an infield single to leadoff the game, but the runner was picked off at first base. The only other base runner reached on an error.
“It was good to get back on track,” Green said. “I was able to stay on top of the ball and keep it down in the strike zone. Coach (Garrido) told me to go out and have fun and play baseball, so that’s what I was trying to do tonight.”
Andrew McKirahan worked a scoreless fifth, allowing one hit. Keifer Nuncio cruised through the sixth and recorded one out in the seventh, before giving up a hit. He recorded one strikeout in his 1.1 innings of shutout relief. Kirby Bellow closed out the sixth with a strikeout and a fly out. UTSA touched up Stayton Thomas for two unearned runs and Carrillo for three unearned runs.
Knebel (1-1) earned the victory in relief. He worked 3.2 innings, allowing just one hit while striking out six over 3.2 innings.
“I was coming in to get the save and was disappointed that I was able to get out of the jam,” Knebel said of the game-tying hit he allowed. “But after that, I knew I still had to pitch and keep us in the game. I was happy with how I pitched the rest of the night.”
Texas pitchers combined to record 17 strikeouts while allowing just five unearned runs with six hits, one hit-batter and no walks.
Clarke (0-1) was saddled with the loss for UTSA. He allowed three runs on two hits and five walks while striking out five over 3.2 innings.
Loy and Walsh each had two hits for the Longhorns. Erich Weiss reached base four times, going 1-for-3 with three walks.
Texas returns to action on Friday when the Longhorns host the Brown Bears in a four-game series. First pitch on Friday is slated for 6 p.m.