No. 5 Baseball staves off elimination with 5-1 win over Arizona State in NCAA Super Regional
June 11, 2011
AUSTIN, Texas -Five Texas pitchers, strong defense and clutch late-inning hitting combined to give Texas a 5-1 win over Arizona State in the second game of the NCAA Baseball Austin Super Regional. Texas staves off elimination for the fourth time this postseason and ties the series at 1-1 to force a third and deciding game for the opportunity to go to Omaha and play in the College World Series.
Cole Green (8-3) got the start for Texas and maintained his postseason success, as he threw 5.0 innings, allowing only one run off of six hits and one walk, while striking out four. Hoby Milner (1.1 IP), Kendal Carrillo (0.1 IP), and Andrew McKirahan (0.1 IP) all tossed scoreless innings of relief, giving up only two hits between them. Corey Knebel closed out the game with a perfect final six outs, striking out three and earning his 18th save of the season.
The Texas offense helped out Green and got on the board first in the top of the third inning. Paul Montalbano led off the frame with a walk. After Jacob Felts bunted Montalbano to second, Jordan Etier sent a grounder to the shortstop, but was able to slide under an errant throw by Deven Marrero to reach first safely. Tant Shepherd then walked to bring up Mark Payton with the bases loaded. Payton sent a fly ball to left field that was deep enough to plate Montalbano and give the Horns the 1-0 lead.
The Longhorns (48-17) pushed across another run to extend the lead to 2-0 in the sixth inning. Payton led off the frame with a walk and was bunted over to second by Brandon Loy. Erich Weiss then drove a double to left-center field to drive Payton home.
Arizona State (43-17) answered in the bottom of the sixth with its only run of the game. Marrero led off the inning with a single to center field, and Riccio Torrez followed with a single to right, putting runners at the corners. Hoby Milner then came out of the bullpen to spell Green. The Sun Devils' Joey DeMichele sent a sacrifice fly to center that scored Marrero and cut the Longhorns' lead to 2-1.
Arizona State threatened to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning, but came up empty after a stunning play from the Horns defense. Xorge Carrillo reached first on a leadoff single through the middle and Zack MacPhee followed by bunting him over to second. Carrillo was then lifted for pinch runner Michael Benjamin, and Texas made another call to the bullpen to bring in Kendal Carrillo.
Carrillo struck out pinch-hitter Andy Workman, the only batter he faced, and was then relieved by Andrew McKirahan who was called to face Johnny Ruettiger. Ruettiger sent a hard grounder in between first and second base, and he was safe at first just ahead of the throw. Benjamin rounded third on the play and raced towards home, but Texas first baseman Shepherd gunned the ball to catcher Jacob Felts who blocked the plate and tagged Benjamin out at home.
The Horns added some insurance in the top of the ninth inning to close out the scoring. Kevin Lusson led off the inning with a single through the right side, and Sam Stafford was brought in to pinch-run. Montalbano bunted Stafford to second, and a wild pitch brought Stafford to third. Jacob Felts drew a walk to put runners on the corners for Etier, who sent a Trevor Williams offering down the left field line that cleared the fence for a three-run homerun and gave the Horns the 5-1 lead.
Arizona State starter Kramer Champlin (9-4) was saddled with the loss after pitching 6.1 innings, allowing only one earned run off of five hits and five walks while striking out four. Trevor Williams added 2.0 innings of relief giving up three runs off of three hits and two walks, while Alex Blackford pitched a perfect 0.2 innings out of the Sun Devils' bullpen.
The Longhorn offense was led by Etier who was 3-for-4 with the three-run homerun. Mark Payton added one run and one RBI on the night.
Arizona State's offense was paced by Carrillo, who was 2-for-3, and Johnny Ruettiger who was 2-for-4.
Texas and Arizona State meet for the final and deciding game of the series on Sunday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. The winner advances to Omaha, Neb., to play in the College World Series. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. Central.