May 7, 2011
LINCOLN, Neb. – The No. 6 Texas Longhorns registered season highs with 17 hits and 16 runs en route to a 16-5 victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday afternoon at Hawks Field.
Texas (36-11, 17-6 Big 12) sent 10 batters to the plate in the first inning and nine batters to the plate in both the third and ninth frames.
Mark Payton, Paul Montalbano and Jacob Felts each registered three hits for Texas. Payton went 3-for-6 with one walk, three runs and two RBI. Montalbano went 3-for-5 with one double, one walk, two runs and four RBI. Felts batted 3-for-6 with one double, two runs and two RBI.
Erich Weiss, Tant Shepherd and Cohl Walla also contributed with multiple hits on the afternoon. Weiss reached base in five of his six plate appearances, going 2-for-3 with three walks and two runs scored. Shepherd batted 2-for-6 with one hit-by-pitch, one run and one RBI. Walla batted 2-for-6 with one double and two runs.
Jonathan Walsh added three RBI.
Texas pounced on the Cornhuskers early with their most productive first inning of the season. Texas used three hits, two walks, two Huskers’ errors and a passed ball to cobble together a six-run frame. With one out, Payton drew a walk and two batters later Weiss joined him with a two-out walk. Montalbano deposited a single into left centerfield to plate Payton. Walsh bounced a single up the middle to send Weiss home for the 2-0 lead.
The Longhorns rally continued with back-to-back errors by Nebraska third baseman Cody Asche. The first miscue was a throwing error to first allowing Etier to reach, loading the bases. The second was a fielding error on a grounder by Walla, allowing a pair of runs to score, give Texas a 4-0 advantage. A passed ball on the first pitch thrown to Felts allowed Walla to score and Felts sent a single up the middle to bring Etier home for the 6-0 lead.
Texas ballooned the lead to 10-0 with four runs in the top of the third. Etier was hit by a pitch to start the inning. With one out, Asche fielded a potential double play ball by Felts and threw the ball into rightfield to put runners at the corners. After Loy was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Payton singled up the middle to drive in Etier. Shepherd grounded out to the right side of the infield allowing Felts to score for the 8-0 advantage.
Weiss was issued a walk to reload the bases with Horns and Montalbano inflated the cushion to 10-0 with a two-run double to leftfield.
Nebraska (27-20, 6-13 Big 12) broke the scoring seal in the bottom of the third. Chad Christensen doubled down the rightfield line to start the inning and moved to third on a deep fly ball rightfield by Patric Tolentino. Tanner Krietemeier singled up the middle to drive in Christensen and cut the Texas lead to 10-1.
The Cornhuskers cut the lead to 10-2 in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Kale Kiser was hit by a pitch and Kash Kalkowski doubled to the gap in left centerfield to put two runners in scoring position. Kiser was awarded a free pass home when UT starter Cole Green balked prior to his first pitch to Christensen.
Nebraska continued to build its picket fence on the scoreboard with another run in the fifth inning. Tolentino and Krietemeier each laced singles through the left side of the infield to start the inning. Green’s second balk of the game put both runners in scoring position, setting up a sacrifice fly to centerfield by Pritchard to trim the Longhorns’ advantage to 10-3. Green got out of the inning without further damage by inducing two more fly outs to centerfield.
The Longhorns quelled the Cornhuskers momentum in the top of the seventh. Texas loaded the bases a single by Payton, a walk by Weiss and a wild pitch on strike three to Montalbano. Walsh pushed a run across with a five-pitch walk to give Texas an 11-3 advantage.
The Cornhuskers cut the lead to 12-4 with an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth. Asche reached on a one-out walk, moved to second on a fly ball and scored when Shepherd was unable to field a ground ball hit by Kiser to first base.
The cavalcade of runs continued for Texas in the ninth inning. Texas registered seven singles in the inning. Hits by Montalbano, Felts, Loy and Payton all drove in runs and Walsh added a sacrifice fly to give Texas a 16-4 lead.
The Cornhuskers tacked on the final run in the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Tolentino doubled down the leftfield line off reliever Kendal Carrillo and with two outs, Pritchard sent him home with a single to centerfield.
Green (5-3) earned the win with a quality start. He yielded four runs, three earned, on eight hits and one walk while striking out two over 8.0 innings.
Jon Keller (2-5) was saddled with the loss for Nebraska. He allowed six runs, two earned, on three hits and two walks over 0.2 innings of work.
Krietemeier, who entered the game 4-for-40 on the year for Nebraska, went 3-for-4 with one RBI on the day. Pritchard batted 3-for-4 with two RBI. Tolentino went 2-for-4 with one double and two runs.
The Longhorns will go for the sweep of the Cornhuskers with a 12 p.m. contest at Hawks Field on Sunday.