OMAHA, Neb. -- Redshirt freshman Adrian Alaniz gave up only one run over seven strong innings and the UT offense plated five runs on 11 hits as No. 5 Texas posted a 5-1 win over No. 4 Baylor in front of a record-crowd of 26,641 at Rosenblatt Stadium during the opening round of the College World Series (CWS) on Saturday, June 18.
The Longhorns (52-16) now advance to face No. 1 Tulane on Monday, June 20 at 6 p.m. Central, while Baylor (44-23) will move on to play Oregon State in an elimination game earlier that day at 1 p.m. Central. Both games will be televised by ESPN or ESPN2.
A leadoff single from Nick Peoples (Round Rock, Texas) followed by a one-out, home run off the bat of Seth Johnston (Boerne, Texas) in the top of the first inning staked the Longhorns to an early 2-0 lead. While Baylor would put at least one runner on in each of the next three innings, including a pair with two outs in the third, Alaniz (Sinton, Texas) managed to work out of each frame to keep the Horns in front through the first three innings. Three straight, two-out singles in the bottom of the fourth, including a RBI-grounder from shortstop Paul Witt that was just out of the reach of third baseman David Maroul (Benbrook, Texas), pulled the Bears within one at 2-1. A walk then loaded the bases for Baylor in the same inning, but Alaniz got his next batter to flyout deep to left and end the threat.
Following a scoreless fifth for both sides, the Horns put their first two runners on in the top of the sixth on a single from Will Crouch (Austin, Texas) and a fielding error. After two outs were recorded to keep runners on first and second in the inning, Robby Hudson (Redland, Calif.) hit a chopper to the left of the pitcher's mound that was thrown high and beyond the reach of the first baseman to bring in two runs and give UT a 4-1 advantage. Alaniz, meanwhile, retired nine of his next 10 batters to move the game to the eighth with Texas in front by three. In the top of the eighth, a leadoff single by Taylor Teagarden (Carrollton, Texas) followed by a sac hit and a RBI-base hit from Hudson then pushed the Longhorns lead to 5-1. From there, J. Brent Cox (Bay City, Texas) came on and retired six of the seven batters he faced to give the Longhorns the victory. Picking up his seventh win of the season was Alaniz, who allowed seven hits and struck out three during his 120-pitch effort, while Baylor starter Mark McCormick shouldered the loss.
Leading the Longhorns offense on the day were four different players with multi-hit outings, including Johnston, who also drove in two runs while scoring another during a 2-for-5 night, and Hudson, who went 2-for-4 with one RBI. Meanwhile, the Bears were paced by Seth Fortenberry, who went 2-for-3, and Witt, who scored the Bears lone run on the evening. Additionally, with his hit in the seventh inning, sophomore first baseman Chance Wheeless (Round Rock, Texas) extended his current hit streak to 12 games.
POSTGAME NOTES & QUOTES
· Texas is making its NCAA-record 32nd CWS appearance and playing in its series-best 127th game. After tonight's game, the Longhorns are now 74-53 during World Series play all-time and own a 9-4 postseason mark in 2005. Additionally, UT's 74 CWS wins tie the Longhorns for first on the all-time list with USC.
· Tonight's attendance of 26,641 set a session four record at the CWS.
· Texas collected 11 hits on the evening and now has 10 or more hits in 38 of 68 games in 2005, including 11 of 13 postseason contests.
· With the victory, Texas has now won its opening game of the CWS four times in as many years.
· Texas head coach Augie Garrido is taking his 12th team to Omaha this year. Garrido is tied for fifth in appearances, with Texas legend Cliff Gustafson, who tops that list with 17. This was Garrido's 46th game at the CWS (sixth all time) and his 30th win puts him in fifth place. Additionally, Garrido is now 8-4 in opening games at the College World Series.
· With his first-inning, two-run home run, senior Seth Johnston has now hit safely in 57 of 68 games this season. Additionally, with his 2-for-5 effort, Johnston now owns 111 hits on the season, which is good for second on the school single-season list and only one hit behind UT season leader Tim Moss, who collected 112 in 2002.
· Johnston also upped his team-leading totals for multi-hit games (37) and multi-RBI outings (19) with his two-hit evening.
· Sophomore Chance Wheeless has now reached base safely in each of the last 12 games with his first-inning walk and hit safely in each of those contests behind a seventh-inning base hit.
· With his fifth-inning single, senior second baseman Robby Hudson has now hit safely in 19 of the last 22 games.
· Sophomore center fielder Drew Stubbs has now reached base safely in 63 of 68 games and has hit safely in 55 games so far this year after a 1-for-3 outing.
· Will Crouch has hit safely in nine of his last 10 contests and reached base safely in each of those tilts. He also has multi-hit outings in six of his last nine games behind a 2-for-5 performance.
· Redshirt freshman starter Adrian Alaniz has worked at least 6.1 innings in each of his last three starts, which have all come during the NCAA Tournament, and allowed only one earned run in each of those starting assignments.
Head Coach Steve Smith
Opening statement: I thought it was a pretty good collegiate baseball game. They had more timely hits than we did. I thought the guys did a good job against (starting pitcher) Mark (McCormick). It came down to a couple of defensive players. We just didn't make the plays. (Michael) Griffin's ball with the bases loaded just missed. I have to give them credit. (Starting pitcher Adrian) Alaniz pitched well. They had no defensive mistakes.
On losing on Mark McCormick's error: I don't like to make an error, but Mark's play was anything but routine. We had an inning where we didn't make the defensive plays. Texas played very well. They had some timely hits.
Second baseman Michael Griffin
On Texas' starting pitcher Adrian Alaniz: He pitched a great game. I have to tip my hat to him. He mainly had two pitches working. He was keeping it in the zone.
On being down early: When we got a couple runs down early, we chip away. I thought we were going to chip away at the lead, but we didn't get the timely hit tonight.
Starting pitcher Mark McCormick
On nerves: This is the biggest game I've pitched in so I was a little nervous. I made a mistake to Seth (Johnston - the two-run home run in the first inning) and he hit it out. I think I threw it out over the middle.
On the error: I didn't feel I had to rush. I threw it a little early. I had more time than it looked like.
Head Coach Augie Garrido
Opening statement: A lot of the balls that were put into play by both teams were very similar. A lot of the ground balls we hit found their way though and a lot of the ground balls they (Baylor) hit didn't. It was good timing for the Longhorns tonight.
On facing top seed Tulane on Monday: Well my first reaction when I saw the bracket was 'oh great. We're playing a team we can't beat (Baylor) and if we do then we're playing the No. 1 seed.' I guess that's still my reaction. That's a lot of green, man.
Shortstop Seth Johnston
On his first-inning HR: He threw one, basically, down the middle. I put a short swing on it and it found its way out of here.
On being comfortable at the CWS: We were very comfortable before the game and throughout the game. It seems like a road trip to a Big 12 opponent. When you see the stadium you know you're in Omaha but it's like it's just another road trip for us.
On trying to avoid losing to Baylor for a fifth time this season: We didn't look at it as losing a fifth time to Baylor. We just didn't want to lose the first game of the College World Series. When you're here it's a brand new season.
Starting pitcher Adrian Alaniz
On living dangerously early on: I was feeling a little pressure but that's the life of a pitcher. It's something we live for as pitchers. Seth's home run took the pressure off and it was a confidence boost.