By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, it’s TCU’s turn.
Texas stayed alive in the College World Series with a 1-0 victory Wednesday night over UC Irvine (41-25). The Longhorns (45-20) won their second elimination game and are now need to beat Vanderbilt twice to reach the CWS Championship Series for the first time since 2009.
The Horned Frogs, knocked into the loser’s bracket in a 3-2 loss to Virginia Tuesday night, face Ole Miss at 7 p.m. Thursday night in a win-or-go-home contest. If TCU beats the Rebels, it would need to beat Virginia twice to reach the Championship Series.
UT shortstop C.J. Hinojosa picked the perfect time to hit the first home run of the 2014 CWS. The sophomore, who came into the game with one homer, jumped on a 2-2 pitch from Anteaters starter Evan Manarino and sent it just over the left field fence to lead off the seventh inning.
Hinojosa’s homer came one inning after a mistake spoiled a great scoring chance. With one out, UT’s Ben Johnson led off with a shot down the left field line and stretched the double into a triple. However, the Anteaters appealed that Johnson missed first base. The umpire agreed and Johnson was called out; instant replays concurred with the decision.
One run was all Texas needed thanks to starter Chad Hollingsworth. The hero of UT’s victory over Texas A&M in the Houston Regional, Hollingsworth allowed four hits over 8.1 innings. With stopper John Curtiss ill, left-hander Travis Duke got the final two outs to extend the Longhorns’ stay in Omaha.
Texas starter Chad Hollingsworth has made two outstanding starts in the NCAA tournament and his work has been magnified with the staff being without injured ace Dillon Peters. Hollingsworth pitched a two-hit complete game in the Longhorns’ victory over Texas A&M in the Houston Regional and was also nails against UC Irvine, allowing just four hits in 8.1 innings.
UT shortstop C.J. Hinojosa, who was leading the Longhorns in hitting in the NCAA Tournament going into the CWS, hit the first homer of the 2014 CWS for the game’s only run. Hinojosa has a seven-game hitting streak.
Numbers to know
C.J. Hinojosa’s home run was the first at the CWS since Hunter Renfroe’s three-run shot on June 21, 2013 for Mississippi State vs. Oregon State. There was a span of 115 innings, 923 batters, 3,436 pitches and 672 outs between CWS homers.
This was just the second 1-0 shutout in the CWS since 1985. The other 1-0 game came last year (Oregon State 1, Indiana 0).
In two NCAA starts, UT’s Chad Hollingsworth has pitched 17.1 innings with a 0.00 ERA. He has allowed six hits with eight strikeouts. The only run he has allowed was unearned.
Texas reliever Travis Duke has two saves this season and both have come in the last two games.
Texas is now 33-28 all-time in CWS elimination games.
Texas has allowed two or fewer runs in seven of nine NCAA Tournament games.
There have been 21 shutouts and seven 1-0 games in this NCAA Tournament; both are records for a post-season.
In three CWS games, UC Irvine scored in just two of 27 innings (three in the eighth vs. Texas/Game 1, four in the second vs. Vanderbilt/Game 6). In those two innings, Irvine hit 5-for-18 with RISP. In the other 25 innings, they went 0-for-15 with RISP.
Texas shortstop C.J. Hinojosa, who had hit one home run all season, on hitting the first homer at this CWS: “I didn't think it was very good odds. But there are times when a nine-hole hitter does it, and you never think that he would. I mean, baseball is a game that you don't know what exactly is going to happen and you can't predict anything. Same thing could happen any given day at any given time.”
Texas coach Augie Garrido on starting pitcher Chad Hollingsworth: “He does that by following what (pitching coach Skip) Johnson wants all his pitchers to do … just keep it simple. Hit the mitt. He got a very good defensive play out of his team behind him, which we've been able to do throughout the tournament so far, both in the outfield and the infield.”
UC Irvine coach Mike Gillespie on Mark Payton’s diving catch in right-center field that might have saved a run in the bottom of the third: “That's a catch we'll see tonight later on, tomorrow morning, all day long, we'll see more of that catch than we even want to. We've seen enough of it, actually, but it was a spectacular, big-time play and a difference maker ... The difference maker, quite frankly.”
Texas faces Vanderbilt at 2 p.m. Friday.