April 5, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Sam Stafford pitched a gem and the Longhorns batters amassed a season-high 15 hits as No. 8 Texas cruised to an 8-1 win over the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders at Whataburger Field on Tuesday evening.
Stafford (4-0) pitched 7.0 innings of no-hit baseball, scattering four walks while registering a career-high 11 strikeouts.
The southpaw did not allow a runner to reach second base and one of the four men he walked was caught stealing.
With Stafford's pitch count at 118 after seven frames, he was replaced by Josh Urban prior to the bottom of the eighth. Urban continued the no-hitter with a 1-2-3 eighth inning before yielding a hit to Drew Vest to start the ninth.
The Longhorns pounced on the Islanders early with a pair of runs in the top of the first. With one out, Mark Payton drew a walk and Erich Weiss followed with a single to right field. After a groundout by Lucas Kephart pushed the pair into scoring position, Tant Shepherd doubled to the gap in right center to stake the Longhorns to a 2-0 lead.
Texas (22-7) tacked on a run in the second inning with a two-out rally. After Kevin Lusson and Jacob Felts both flied out to centerfield to start the inning, Paul Montalbano dropped a single into left centerfield, stole second base and moved to third when the catcher's toss trickled away from the Islanders' shortstop. Brandon Loy followed with a single to left center, plating Montalbano and inflating the cushion to 3-0.
The cavalcade of runs continued in the third. Kephart walked and Shepherd singled to start the inning and Jordan Etier pushed the runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Lusson drove in Kephart with an infield single, Felts knocked in Shepherd with a grounder to third and Montalbano capped off the rally with a single up the middle to score Lusson for the 6-0 edge.
Texas added single runs in both the seventh and ninth innings to take an 8-0 lead. Weiss started the seventh with a triple down the rightfield line and scored on a single through the right side of the infield by Kephart. In the ninth, Kephart was issued a walk with one out. Dex Kjerstad pinch-ran for Kephart and scored on a double down the leftfield line by Shepherd.
Weiss, Shepherd and Montalbano each registered went 3-for-5 for the Horns. Weiss had a triple and two runs. Shepherd logged two doubles, one run and three RBI. Montalbano tallied one run, one RBI and one stolen base. Loy reached base on four of his five plate appearances, going 2-for3 with one walk and one HBP.
The Islanders (20-12) also broke up the shutout in the ninth. After Vest was retired on a double play, Trey Hernandez reached on an error by the second baseman and scored when Jacob Perales tripled over the head of Montalbano in centerfield.
Urban yielded just one unearned run on two hits and two strikeouts over 2.0 innings to close out the game for Texas.
Todd Simko (5-4) was saddled with the loss for the Islanders. He allowed three runs on six hits and one walk while striking out two.
Texas returns to action on Friday when it travels to Waco for a 6:30 p.m. contest against the Baylor Bears.