By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
Two teams facing a win-or-go-home scenario met Monday afternoon in the College World Series. Texas handled the pressure situation much better than did Louisville. The Longhorns remained alive with a 4-1 victory over the Cardinals, who leave Omaha after losing wice.
Texas (44-20) took advantage of four Louisville errors to bounce back from a 3-1 loss to UC Irvine. The Longhorns left 12 runners on base in that game but scored single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to build a 3-0 lead.
Ben Johnson’s sacrifice fly scored Zane Gurwitz, who had doubled to lead off the third and moved up on a ground out.
Two singles and a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third in the fourth. C.J. Hinjosa scored when the Louisville shortstop couldn’t handle Kacey Clemens’ grounder.
The Cardinals committed two errors in the fifth that led to another UT run. A bad throw on a potential double play grounder allowed Mark Payton to score for a 3-0 lead. After Louisville made it 3-1 in the bottom of the eighth, the Longhorns came back with a run in the top of the ninth. Brooks Marlow’s sacrifice fly scored Madison Carter, who had moved to third thanks to another Louisville error.
* Texas starter Parker French (7-5) went 7.1 innings, matching his longest outing of the season. He walked three and struck out three while allowing just four hits. French threw first-pitch strikes to 23 of 28 batters faced.
* French credited the Longhorns’ defense. Texas played an errorless game and turned two double plays to keep Louisville from mounting significant threats. Texas has turned 70 double plays this season, the second-most in the nation.
Numbers to know
* The Texas-Louisville contest was the 5th of the 2014 CWS. A total of 25 runs have been scored with 11 coming in the eighth (nine runs) or ninth (two runs) innings.
* Louisville had not lost back-to-back games since April 17.
* Texas came into the CWS leading the NCAA in sacrifice bunts. The Longhorns have four in two games to push their season total to 100.
* The last 58 teams with a ninth-inning lead have won in the CWS. Texas was the last team to lose a ninth inning lead; in Game One of the Championship Series the Longhorns led LSU 6-3 but allowed three runs and lost 7-6 in 10 innings.
* Texas has won at least one game in 31 of 35 CWS appearances.
* Louisville has made consecutive CWS appearances but has gone 0-2 and back home both times. The Cardinals have lost five consecutive CWS games dating back to 2007.
* Louisville starter Anthony Kidston (9-1) suffered his first loss of the season. The Cardinals had been 12-1 this season and 17-2 over the last two seasons in games Kidston started.
Texas pitcher Parker French on his strategy: “They started swinging at a lot of early fastballs. Their whole game (is) making the pitcher and defense uncomfortable. That's how they score runs. You have to attack them first before they attack you. That was our plan, stay ahead of them all day.”
Texas coach Augie Garrido on Sunday’s practice that helped the Longhorns bounce back from losing Saturday’s CWS opener: “We weren't trying to fix anything because it wasn't broken. Everything was in the right place. And it was a fun practice and they had a good time and they knew they could trust each other and what we said was ‘Play our game’ and they did.”
Garrido on his pitching staff giving Texas an opportunity battle back through the loser’s bracket: “I think it certainly gives us a chance. I think we have a pitching staff that can stand up to the number of games that we have to win to win the national championship.”
Louisville coach Dan McDonnell on his team committing four errors: When you don't play clean, obviously it gets magnified here. We had a two-inning lapse there in the middle of the game where we made it a little too easy on them. They got the momentum and we let them roll with it for a couple of innings.