June 5, 2011
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AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Longhorns staved off elimination with a dramatic 4-3 win over the Texas State Bobcats Sunday afternoon in the NCAA Baseball Austin Regional at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
After giving up the tying run in the top of the ninth inning, the Longhorns answered in the bottom half to keep their season alive. After coming off the bench as a defensive substitute in the eighth, Tim Maitland led off the inning with a drag bunt single down the first base line. Brandon Loy then bunted Maitland to second and an intentional walk to Erich Weiss put runners on first and second. Carson Smith was then brought in to try to hold the game after throwing 124 pitches on Friday against Kent State. Smith walked Paul Montalbano to load the bases, and Kevin Lusson followed with a walk-off single to the right field wall driving in Maitland and giving the Longhorns the 4-3 victory.
Texas State (41-23) opened the scoring in the top of the fourth inning. Bret Atwood got the inning started with a leadoff single to center. Then after Casey Kalenkosky struck out and an Atwood stolen base, Kyle Kubitza sent a pitch over the right field fence to give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead.
Texas (45-16) answered in the bottom of the fifth with its first run of the game. Jacob Felts got on base with a single to right field, and Tant Shepherd followed with a single to left field. Mark Payton then laid down a bunt single to load the bases. A Brandon Loy sacrifice fly to right-center field plated Felts and cut the lead to 2-1.
The Longhorns offense continued to click in the bottom of the sixth inning. Jonathan Walsh knocked a one out single to left field, ending Texas State starting pitcher Colton Turner’s afternoon. Reliever Travis Ballew then threw four straight balls to Jordan Etier, and then Ballew was pulled after immediately throwing two more balls to Felts. Fielding Pittman was then called upon from the Bobcat bullpen, and he hit Felts with a pitch to load the bases. Shepherd then connected for an RBI single driving in Walsh and tying the game at 2-2. After a Mark Payton pop fly, a passed ball allowed Etier to score and give Texas the 3-2 lead.
The Bobcats answered in the do-or-die top of the ninth inning. Bret Atwood hit a leadoff single just past a diving Loy. He then stole second and an error allowed him to reach third base. Kubitza followed with a line drive out to right field that was just deep enough to bring Atwood home on the sac fly and even the game at 3-3 going into the bottom of the ninth.
Cole Green pitched a solid 8.0 innings earning the no decision, allowing two earned runs off of four hits and no walks while striking out eight. Corey Knebel (3-2) earned the win after pitching 1.0 innings, allowing one unearned run off of one hit and one strikeout.
Texas State’s starter Turner also earned a no-decision, pitching 5.1 innings, allowing two runs off of nine hits while striking out two. Jeff McVaney (1-3) was saddled with the loss after throwing 2.1 innings, allowing one run off of three hits and one walk while striking out three. Bellow, Pittman and Smith combined to throw 0.2 innings, and collectively gave up two hits, two walks and an unearned run.
The Texas offense was paced by Shepherd who hit 3-for-5 with an RBI, and Jacob Felts added two hits and a run.
Texas State’s batting was led by Atwood who went 2-for-4 with two runs and two stolen bases. Kubitza went 1-for-3 with the homerun and three RBI.
The Texas Longhorns return to action as they look to stay alive in the NCAA Austin NCAA Regional in a must win-game against Kent State Sunday night, with first pitch slated for 6:30 p.m. at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.