AUSTIN, Texas -- A five-run fifth inning overcame a 2-1 deficit and lifted No. 16 Texas to a 7-3 victory over No. 19 Long Beach State in front of 5,872 fans at Disch-Falk Field during the finale of a three-game series on Sunday, March 12.
The Longhorns' (13-9) win over the Dirtbags (12-9) not only earned them a 2-1 series victory, but also gave them wins in four of their last five games.
Following two scoreless frames to open the ballgame, Long Beach State grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the third, courtesy of a leadoff double from Allen Woods and consecutive groundouts. The Horns on the other hand were limited to a single with one out in the third through the first three innings as LBSU starter Vance Worley retired the first seven batters he faced and registered four strikeouts. One inning later, in the bottom of the fourth, Texas tied the contest at 1-1 when Chance Wheeless (Round Rock, Texas) connected on his first home run of the year with one down in the inning. Still alive in the frame, UT managed to load the bases with two away on a single and two walks, but Worley worked out of the jam by notching his fifth strikeout of the afternoon. Answering right back in the top of the fifth, the Dirtbags used three singles and a RBI-groundout off the bat of Matt Cline to reclaim the lead at 2-1. Texas starter Kenn Kasparek (Weimar, Texas) and the Longhorns' defense then limited Long Beach State to only that score in the inning via an outfield putout on the base paths, the groundout and a strikeout.
Responding immediately in the bottom of the fifth after falling behind by one, the Longhorns strung together three consecutive one-out singles, including a RBI-base hit from Wheeless, to knot the game at 2-2 before a triple by Drew Stubbs (Atlanta, Texas) brought in two scores, and RBI-base hits from Carson Kainer (Tomball, Texas) and Bradley Suttle (Boerne, Texas) made it 6-2 in favor of UT. After both teams went quietly in the sixth, Texas tacked on an unearned score in the bottom of the seventh via a two-out single from Suttle with runners on the corners to push in front 7-2. Looking to rally in the top of the eighth, the Dirtbags loaded the bases with one out on a hit batter and back-to-back infield singles. While a walk would bring in one run to cut the lead to four, Joseph Krebs (Bridgeport, Texas) emerged from the UT bullpen and induced his first batter to hit into an inning-ending double play. Although the Dirtbags placed a runner on second with two outs in the ninth, Krebs retired the final batter on a strikeout to preserve the win for UT and notch his first career save after tossing 1.2 scoreless innings. Registering the victory was Kasparek, who won his second straight decision by allowing only two runs on five hits and striking out three over six innings, while Worley shouldered the loss despite fanning six over his five-inning effort.
Leading the Horns offensively were Kainer, who went 3-for-4 en route to tallying his second straight three-hit game, Wheeless, who went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and a pair of RBI, and Suttle, who had two hits and drove in two runs with two outs. LBSU, meanwhile, had its eight-hit attack paced by Allen Woods, who went 2-for-2 with one run scored, and Cline, who tallied a pair of RBI and also scored once. Of additional note for Texas, Stubbs extended his current hit streak to a team season-best 16 games, while Kainer has now reached base safely in 16 straight contests and the Longhorns' offense has recorded 10 or more hits in six of its last eight tilts.
Up next, the Horns welcome No. 13 Arizona State to Disch-Falk Field for a 6:15 p.m. Central game on Tuesday, March 14.