By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
After being pushed to the brink and winning three times, Texas finally went over the edge.
The Longhorns were unable to beat Vanderbilt twice in two days. The Commodores bounced back from Friday’s loss with a 4-3 victory in 10 innings Saturday night in the College World Series. The defeat sent Texas (46-21) back home to Austin while Vandy (49-20) will face Virginia in the best-of-three Championship Series that starts Monday.
A two-out rally in the bottom of the ninth produced the winning run. Rhett Wiseman, who made an outstanding running catch in right center to rob C.J Hinojosa of extra bases, singled to center. After a walk and a hit batter, No. 9 hitter Tyler Campbell beat out a slow roller to short to drive in the winning run.
Campbell, making just his third start, was in the lineup after starting third baseman Xavier Turner was suspended for the season before Friday’s game. Campbell beat Hinojosa’s throw by a step.
Throughout the game, both teams had opportunities but failed to capitalize. The Commodores loaded the bases in the first inning against UT starter Parker French but scored just one run. After Wiseman’s double to right scored a run in the fifth, the Commodores botched a suicide squeeze that resulted in a strikeout/caught stealing double play.
After tying the game at 2-2 in the top of the fourth on Kacy Clemens’ two-run single with the bases loaded, the Longhorns had the chance to seize momentum in the top of fifth. Vanderbilt starter Carson Fulmer walked the bases loaded and was replaced by freshman Hayden Stone.
On his first pitch, Stone got Ben Johnson to ground into a 5-4-3 double play – the first twin killing Johnson had hit into this season. Other than giving up a run in the top of the sixth, Stone was outstanding, allowing three hits and striking out eight in 5.2 innings of relief.
In the top of the Texas eighth, Johnson led off with a single but Barrera popped up a bunt attempt for the first out. Johnson advanced to second on a wild pitch when Clemens struck out. Zane Gurwich, who drove in UT’s run in the sixth with a single, struck out on a full-count pitch to end the inning.
That would be Texas’ last scoring threat.
UT’s Morgan Cooper replaced starter Parker French to start the third inning and went 4.2 innings, allowing six hits and striking out five. He threw 62 strikes in 88 pitches.
Texas freshman first baseman Kacy Clemens provided an early spark with a two-run single with the bases loaded in the top of the fourth that tied the game at 2-2.
Vanderbilt freshman Hayden Stone came on with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning. He threw one pitch for a double play and finished the game to get the victory. Stone, who had an outstanding, late-breaking slider that baffled UT’s hitters, allowed three hits in 5.2 innings and struck out eight of the 20 batters he faced.
Numbers to know
Through five innings, Texas left seven runners on base - six in scoring position.
The top three hitters in Vanderbilt’s lineup had six hits in 14 at bats; the top three hitters for Texas was 0-for-13.
All three Big 12 teams – TCU, Texas and Texas Tech – were eliminated in games decided by two runs or less. With Texas and Texas Tech, the winning run scoring in the opponent’s last at bat. All of the Big 12's six losses were by two runs or less.
Texas was 3-of-14 with runners in scoring position and seven of the 10 runners it stranded were in scoring position.
C.J Hinojosa hit .375 (15-for-40 )in five CWS games. He was the only Texas player with at least one hit in each game.
UT’s Mark Payton finished his career reaching base in 105 of his last 106 games.
The game-winning infield single by Vanderbilt’s Tyler Campbell was just his third RBI of the season.
Texas shortstop C.J Hinojosa on his line drive to lead off the 10th inning that Vanderbilt right fielder Rhett Wiseman raced to catch in right center, preventing at least a double: “Probably the best pitch that I saw all day. Probably the best swing I had all day. And off the bat I did think it was over his head. He's a good outfielder. He tracked it well and made a great play on it.”
Texas coach Augie Garrido on how the 10th inning unfolded: “The separation in the last inning, C.J.'s ball gets caught … They hit a ball, don't square it up, and they beat it out at first with the bases loaded and that's the difference. So it's hard to explain, man. It's a cruel game. “
Garrido on what Texas accomplished: “This group is the best team since 2005 at the University of Texas, in my opinion. They'll never want to finish second again, and I think it will help them later on. To go all in, take the risks it takes, to be the best, because they've experienced it. And they no longer fear failure because it isn't failure when you do your best, and they did that, when you give your all to the team, and they did that. … We’ve got 27 guys crying their eyes out with broken hearts. Once the grieving stops, then they need to recognize clearly what they've won. And they've won a hell of a lot more than they've lost.”
Vanderbilt pitcher Hayden Stone on Wiseman’s catch of Hinojosa’s drive to start the 10th inning: “I tried to sneak a fast ball by him. I saw it off the bat. I was going to back up third base … I saw (Wiseman running really fast after it. I thought it was going to hit the wall or he was going to catch it and he caught it. I was surprised.”