Texas headed to back to Omaha after smashing East Carolina to win Greenville Super Regional, 11-1

The home runs by Campbell and Hodo on Saturday made them the sixth and seventh Longhorns to reach double-digit home runs on the season. The offensive surge on the Forty Acres, Pierce said, boils down to “just passing the bat, getting pitches, not trying to do too much and using their strength and conditioning, using their work in the cages and just trusting.”

Texas unquestionably has pop throughout the lineup, but every significant hit down the stretch of Saturday’s game going to right field for right-handed hitters speaks to how good the team’s approach is at the plate and to the adjustments made throughout the series.

“We’re just seeing it where it’s pitched,” Campbell said. “Some of their guys on their staff like to go away, so we’re just taking it where it was pitched.”

BATTING ORDER

Texas: 1. Douglas Hodo III, Soph., CF (.316/.409/.533); 2. Eric Kennedy, Jr., LF (.308/.395/.491) ; 3. Ivan Melendez, Jr., 1B (.398/.518/.866); 4. Murphy Stehly, Sr., 2B (.376/.431/.680); 5. Austin Todd, Sr., DH (.337/.419/.497); 6. Skyler Messinger (.367/.419/.574); 7. Silas Ardoin, Soph., C (.276/.399/.518); 8. Dylan Campbell, Soph., RF (.271/.369/.512); 9. Trey Faltine, Soph., SS (.283/.396/.552)

— Pierce keeps the lineup the same for the second game in a row. Stehly at second base and Campbell in right field mean Mitchell Daly (.238/.349/.369) will come off of the bench, most likely to come in for defensive purposes at second if the Longhorns get a lead in the late innings.

East Carolina: 1. Zach Agnos, Soph., SS (.326/.398/.477); 2. Lane Hoover, Jr., LF (.343/.426/.418); 3. Bryson Worrell, Sr., CF (.338/.403/.638); 4. Jacob Jenkins-Cowart, Fr., RF (.330/.369/.552); 5. Ben Newton, Sr., C (.283/.387/.362); 6. Josh Moylan, Soph., 1B (.219/.355/.417); 7. Jacob Starling, Soph., 2B (.248/.386/.411); 8. Alec Makarewicz, Soph., 3B (.273/.350/.469); 9. Joey Berini, Soph., DH (.245/.321/.265)

— Godwin’s only lineup change is Berini at the designated hitter spot for Justin Wilcoxen (.276/.327/.398). A change could be made if Godwin gets a matchup with the left-handed Wilcoxen facing Texas freshman southpaw Luke Harrison (0-0, 3.24 ERA with two saves), the only left-handed reliever for the Longhorns (and the only lefty pitcher other than No. 2 starter Lucas Gordon on the postseason roster).

PITCHING MATCHUP

Texas: Tristan Stevens, Sr., RHP (6-6, 5.16 ERA, 75 innings, 83 hits and 20 walks allowed with 65 strikeouts)

— Pierce has said time and again that there’s nobody he trusts more in a big spot than Stevens, who’s making his 25th appearance of the season and his 12th start. The fifth-year senior hasn’t started a game since an April 30 loss to Oklahoma State where went 5.2 innings, allowing six earned runs on six hits with two walks, two hit batters and a balk while striking out eight. Stevens has officially thrown 0.1 innings over two the first two games in Greenville, allowing four runs on three hits with two walks, one wild pitch and one strikeout.

East Carolina: Danny Beal, Soph., RHP (5-1, 4.03 ERA, 38 innings, 31 hits and 20 walks allowed with 40 strikeouts)

— Beal pitched in Saturday’s game, recording two outs on eight pitches. Sunday’s outing marks his 30th appearance of the season, but it’s only his second start.

WEATHER DELAY

— At 3:31 p.m. local time, it’s announced that there’s lightning in the area. Texas and East Carolina are both sent to their respective locker rooms and the stadium has been cleared of spectators. That goes for “The Jungle” beyond the outfield walls of Clark-LeClair Stadium, which has been cleared out by security and law enforcement.

— There’s no word in the press box on when the delay will end, but officials conduct an on-field meeting with Pierce and Godwin that ends at 4:06 p.m. local time, which is the game’s original start time.

— At 4:23 p.m. local time, fans are welcomed back into the stadium and the teams are allowed back on the field to warm up. The game is on with a scheduled 5:05 p.m. first pitch.

FIRST INNING

— Hodo pulls his bat back on a bunt attempt for a first-pitch ball by Beal at 5:06 p.m. local time. On Beal’s third pitch of the game, Hodo smacks one up the middle, beating the shift with Starling unable to get over in time to retire Hodo at first base. It’s an infield single for Hodo and Texas has the leadoff man on base for Kennedy.

— Hodo steals second base to put himself in scoring position, but it’ll be up to someone else to drive him in as Kennedy reaches base on a walk. Kennedy’s free pass ends an eight-pitch at-bat, putting two on with no outs for Melendez.

— There’s a new Division I single-season record holder for home runs in the BBCOR era. It was Kris Bryant with 31 in 2013, but Melendez’s 32nd home run of the season is a laser over the left-field wall and into The Jungle for a three-run bomb. The Longhorns snag the early lead with Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s National Player of the Year doing the damage.

Texas 3, East Carolina 0

— Beal plunks Stehly, which is the fourth Longhorn in a row he’s put on base with Todd, the No. 5 hitter, coming to the plate. That’s the end of the day for Beal, who fails to record on 17 pitches. Righty Trey Yesavage (1-0, 3.60 ERA with two saves) is the first ECU bullpen hand to be called to the mound.

— Todd’s sacrifice bunt moves Stehly into scoring position. Messinger battles back from down 0-2 in the count, slapping a single to left over the outstretched glove of Makarewicz at third base. Stehly rounds third and Pierce sends him home with no play at the plate to open up a four-run lead for the Longhorns.

Texas 4, East Carolina 0

START OF WEATHER DELAY

— At 5:25 p.m. local time, the game is paused and enters a weather delay. The grounds crew unrolls the tarp and puts it over the infield as fans file out of the stadium. When the game resumes, Ardoin will be in the box in 1-0 count and one out with Messinger on first base and the Longhorns looking to add to a four-run lead.

— After a meeting on the field with tournament officials, Godwin and Pierce, the grounds crew removes the tarp from the field at 6:22 p.m. local time. There’s been no word yet on when play will resume.

— At 6:26 p.m. local time, the tarp is put back on and an announcement is made that the game remains delayed. However, fans are allowed to return to their seats inside the stadium.

— It’s announced by the public address announcer at 6:50 p.m. that tournament officials are anticipating another storm system to roll through Greenville at approximately 8:30 p.m. An update on the resumption of the game will be provided thereafter.

— At 9:37 p.m., the grounds crew removes the tarp covering the infield. The NCAA and the stadium public address announcer make it official that play will resume at 10:15 p.m. local time.

— ECU is back on the field at 10:12 p.m. local time. Yesavage is back on the mound. Ardoin steps back into the box at 10:14 p.m. and play has resumed.

END OF WEATHER DELAY

— Yesavage fires a first-pitch ball to Ardoin at 10:15 p.m. The weather delay lasts nearly four hours, but it’s over.

— Ardoin swings and missed at strike three. It’s up to Campbell to keep the inning alive for the Longhorns.

— Campbell looks at strike three. A four-run, three-hit inning for Texas ends four hours after it started. It’s up to Stevens to protect the lead as he takes the mound for his first inning of work.

— Stevens runs into trouble right out of the gate. Agnos singles up the middle to get things started and Hoover’s high chopper to the first-base side of the infield allows Agnos to get to third base. It’s first and third with no outs and Worrell coming to the plate. ECU has a chance to eat into the lead significantly.

— Worrell flies out to left and it’s not deep enough to get Agnos home. Kennedy’s throw in holds the runner at third base.

— Jenkins-Cowart does his job with Stevens trading a run for the second out of the inning. A sacrifice fly to center field scores a run with Hoover advancing to second base on Hodo’s throw home, but the Longhorns are one out away from getting out of the inning.

Texas 4, East Carolina 1

— Newton doesn’t get all of a drive to right field. Campbell settles under it and the inning ends with the Pirates stranding a runner in scoring position. A one-run, two-hit inning could’ve been much worse than what it was, but Stevens buckles down and gets the Longhorns to the second inning with a three-run lead.

SECOND INNING

— Faltine smacks a single up the middle to get the leadoff man on base for the Longhorns for the second inning in a row. A passed ball and a bunt single by Hodo with Newton unable to find the ball, which takes a sky-high hop off of the dirt in front of home plate, put runners at the corners for Kennedy.

— Kennedy delivers with a hard liner to left-center. Faltine scores easily from third and the Longhorns get the run back with the Pirates once again facing a four-run deficit. Godwin makes his second pitching change of the game, lifting Yesavage in favor of lefty CJ Mayhue (6-1, 3.12 ERA with two saves), who started Friday’s win for ECU. Mayhue will face Melendez with two on and no outs.

Texas 5, East Carolina 1

— After a wild pitch allows Hodo and Kennedy to get into scoring position, Melendez is intentionally walked with first base open. The bases are loaded with no outs for Stehly.

— Walking Melendez to load the bases for Stehly is a move that backfires on Godwin and the Pirates. Worrell’s attempt at a diving catch on a drive to center field is all for naught. The ball rolls away from him and Stehly stands up at second base with a two-run double. The All-American delivers once again for the Longhorns in a big spot.

Texas 7, East Carolina 1

— Todd executes his at-bat like a veteran, lofting a fly ball to center field. It’s deep enough to get Melendez across the plate from third and the Longhorns open up a seven-run lead. That ends Mayhue’s night as Godwin goes to the bullpen for the second time in the inning, this time calling on Saturday’s starter, Josh Grosz (4-5, 5.72 ERA), to stop the bleeding. The fourth ECU pitcher of the game, Grosz inherits a runner on third with Messinger coming to the plate.

Texas 8, East Carolina 1

— Grosz can’t stop the offensive onslaught by the Longhorns. Messinger’s looping single to center field lands well in front of Worrell. Texas is 6-for-6 with runners in scoring position with Messinger’s RBI single bringing Stehly home to put another run on the scoreboard.

Texas 9, East Carolina 1

— Campbell draws a two-out walk after Ardoin’s second strikeout of the night. That brings up Faltine, who started the inning off with a single, in a two-out situation with runners on first and second.

— A five-run, five-hit inning for the Longhorns ends with Faltine flying out to center field. Stevens heads back to the mound with the offense handing him a nine-run lead to protect.

— With Moylan on first thanks to hard-hit ball where Melendez is charged with a fielding error, Stevens ends an 11-pitch at-bat by Makarewicz by getting him to swing and miss on a two-strike pitch. Stevens rings up Berini on strikes. It’s a one-hit, scoreless frame for Stevens and the Longhorns have the top of the order due up in the third to face righty Garrett Saylor (6-3, 5.16 ERA with five saves), who’s fifth pitcher of the night for ECU.

THIRD INNING

— Saylor, who threw 58 pitches on Saturday, retires the Longhorns in order. Melendez strikes out to end the first scoreless frame of the game for the Longhorns.

— Agnos draws a leadoff walk, but Stevens gets Hoover to line out to second and strikes out Worrell on a 91 mph fastball with some late life. With two outs and a runner on third, Jenkins-Cowart drives a grounder by a diving Melendez and into right field. It’s first and third for ECU and Newton coming to the plate.

— For the second inning in a row, the Pirates get the leadoff man on base and Stevens minimizes to keep them off of the scoreboard. Newton sends one back to the mound that Stevens tries to cradle, but he picks it up off of the grass and retires Newton at first base to end the inning. It’s a one-hit inning for ECU with two left on base. Through three complete, Stevens has allowed one hit and one run with one walk and three strikeouts on 55 pitches.

FOURTH INNING

— With two outs and Stehly on second after a review shows he was hit in the forearm by a pitch, Saylor runs one in on Ardoin and it catches a piece of him. It’s a two-on, two-out situation for Campbell.

— Campbell hits one on the ground to short, allowing Agnos to retire Ardoin at second base on a 6-4 fielder’s choice. Saylor minimizes the damage after allowing a pair of free passes. It’s still and eight-run lead for the Longhorns with Stevens headed back to the mound for his fourth inning of work.

— Stevens faces the minimum for the third time tonight, retiring the Pirates in order. Another scoreless frame puts the Longhorns one step closer to Omaha.

FIFTH INNING

— Saylor’s first pitch of the inning catches Faltine’s barrel and his 15th home run of the season lands in the trees beyond The Jungle. The Longhorns aren’t done adding to a sizable lead.

Texas 10, East Carolina 1

— Saylor gets Hodo and Kennedy to ground out and strikes out Melendez to get out of the inning. Stevens will face Ryder Giles (.179/.282/.239), who’s in the game to pinch hit for Berini, to open the fifth.

— Giles draws a walk and Agnos singles through the left side to put two on with no outs. This is the fourth time through the order for Stevens, who’s over 60 pitches tonight.

— Stevens gets Hoover to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. The bang-bang call at first base is upheld. Instead of first and third with one out for Worrell, there’s a runner on third with two down.

— For the third time in four innings, Stevens allows the leadoff man to reach base only to buckle down and throw a scoreless frame. Worrell grounds out to Melendez, who steps on the bag for the unassisted out to end the inning. The Longhorns go to the sixth with Stehly, Todd and Messinger due up.

SIXTH INNING

— A two-out single up the middle by Messinger ends a run of five in a row retired by Saylor since the Faltine home run. Unfortunately, that’s all for the Longhorns in the top of the inning. It’s still Stevens’ game with Jenkins-Cowart, Newton and Moylan due up for Texas.

— Moylan ground the 93rd pitch of the night from Stevens to Faltine. The throw to first with two outs gets away from Melendez and goes into the Texas dugout. Moylan takes second base and after Starling draws a walk, Stevens is closing in on 100 pitches.

— Pitch No. 101 of the night for Stevens is popped up on the infield by Makarewicz. Messinger bobbles it slightly, but he secures the out to help get Stevens out of the jam. With one run, five hits and three walks allowed with five strikeouts through six innings, Stevens is likely done for the night with the Longhorns nine defensive outs away from reaching the College World Series.

— Merritt Beeker (0-0, 2.77 ERA) gets Campbell to pop out to short and walks Faltine. That ends his night. With one on and one out, Agnos comes moves from shortstop to the mound for the third game in a row. He’ll face the top of the Texas order with Hodo up to bat.

— Agnos gets Melendez to fly out to center after walking Hodo and getting Kennedy to ground out to first to put the runners in scoring position. As the game shifts to the home half, Travis Sthele (3-1, 6.40 ERA) is the first man up out of the bullpen to finish the job Stevens started.

— A one-out walk drawn by Agnos and a two-out walk drawn by Worrell make things dicey for Sthele, but the gets Jenkins-Cowart to ground out to second base to end the inning. Sthele does his job, working a scoreless seventh on 23 pitches. The Longhorns will face Ben Terwilliger (2-0, 3.97 ERA with five saves) in the eighth.

EIGHTH INNING

— Terwilliger retires the Longhorns in order, but Sthele does the same thing to the Pirates. Texas faces Jake Kuchmaner (4-3, 3.71 ERA) in the top of the ninth, the ninth different ECU pitcher the Longhorns have seen tonight. No matter what happens with Ardoin, Campbell and Faltine due up, Texas is three outs away from Omaha.

NINTH INNING

— Whether the Longhorns need insurance runs or not, Ardoin provides one. He takes Kuchmaner deep to right for an opposite-field solo home run to make it a 10-run lead for the Longhorns. That’s the only thing the offense gets going, but it should be enough to bring it home. Jared Southard comes into the game to work the ninth inning and get the final three outs needed to win the series.

Texas 11, East Carolina 1

— Southard works a clean three-up, three-down ninth. Agnos strikes out to end the game and the Longhorns are headed back to Omaha after winning a game that wraps up a 1:32 a.m. local time.

FINAL: Texas 11, East Carolina 1 

Leave a Comment