OXFORD, Miss. -- Robby Hudson (Redlands, Calif.) delivered RBI singles in the sixth and eight innings and J. Brent Cox (Bay City, Texas) earned his 17th save to propel No. 5 Texas (51-16) to a 6-4 victory over No. 8 Mississippi (48-20) and earn the Longhorns their NCAA-record 32nd College World Series appearance on Monday, June 13.
After splitting the first two games of the best-of-three series, Texas scored runs early on Monday, tallying three runs in the first two innings - one run in the first and two in the second - while adding two in the sixth inning and one insurance run in the eighth to earn the victory during the deciding game of the Oxford NCAA Super Regional in front of 8,336 fans at Swayze Field.
After Nick Peoples (Round Rock, Texas) made a full-extension catch in right center field to end the top of the first, he led off the bottom of the inning with a walk, advanced to second on a sacrifice and scored on a RBI-double off the bat of Seth Johnston (Boerne, Texas) to stake Texas to an early 1-0 lead. With the Horns still alive in the opening frame, the Rebels defense and starter Eric Fowler managed to cut down one runner at the plate and got a pop-up to limit UT to one run. Answering right back in the top of the second, Ole Miss strung together two singles followed by a two-run double off from shortstop Zach Cozart to pull in front by a score of 2-1. Countering in the bottom half of the inning, the Horns put together a two-out rally to re-claim their one-run lead as Chance Wheeless (Round Rock, Texas), who led off with a single, scored on a Peoples' base hit in front of a Johnston bloop double to left that brought in Peoples, who proceeded to steal two bases, with the go-ahead score.
Following a scoreless third for both sides, Mississippi received back-to-back, two-out singles to place runners on first and second, but UT starter Kyle McCulloch (Houston, Texas) struck out his second batter of the night to end the chance. Fowler, meanwhile, retired seven in a row, including four via strikeout, to move the game to the fifth. The Rebels then placed runners on the second and third with one down in the top of the fifth courtesy of a bunt single from designated hitter Justin Henry and a double from third baseman Chris Coghlan before a groundout to the right side by Brian Pettway knotted the score at 3-3. With a runner now at third and two away, the Horns brought in reliever Buck Cody (Oklahoma City, Okla.), who induced his first batter to hit a come-backer to the mound and close out the frame.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Longhorns pulled back in front as Will Crouch (Austin, Texas) opened the inning with his sixth home run of the season and Taylor Teagarden (Carrollton, Texas), who walked and moved to second on a sacrifice, scored on a two-out single from Hudson to give Texas a 5-3 lead. While Texas looked to increase its advantage in the seventh by placing two runners on with two outs, Stephen Head, who moved from first base to the mound in the sixth, fanned his next batter to quell the threat. Ole Miss then received three consecutive one-out hits in the top of the eighth to load the bases and picked up a sacrifice fly from Cozart to make it a one-run ballgame before Cox forced his next hitter to ground into an inning-ending fielder's choice. The Longhorns answered right back in the bottom of the inning with singles from Wheeless and Hudson sandwiched around a sac bunt to push the UT lead to 6-4. After two quick outs in the top of the ninth, Ole Miss picked up a walk and a single to bring the winning-run to the plate, but Cox held his ground and struck out his next batter to end it. While Kenn Kasparek (Weimar, Texas) picked up the win in relief to improve to 8-0, Fowler shouldered the tough loss.
Headlining the UT offense were Johnston, who went 3-for-4 with two RBI, Crouch, who collected a pair of his while scoring one run and driving in another, Wheeless, who went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, and Hudson, who drove in two runs during a 2-for-4 effort. Mississippi, meanwhile, had its offense led by Coghlan, who went 3-for-4, and the duo of Mark Wright and Cozart, who each posted a pair of hits while combining for one run scored and three RBI.
Up next, Texas will face Baylor in opening-round of the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., at Rosenblatt Stadium on Saturday, June 18. Of note, the time of the contest will be decided later this week.