Big 12 Baseball

Four Thoughts on Texas’ 7-5 Win Over Stanford in Game 1 of Super Regionals

Texas defeated Stanford, 7-5, in Game 1 of an NCAA Baseball Super Regional Best-of-Three Series in Palo Alto, Calif. Here are four thoughts on the game.

Drama in the Ninth

Texas was down 5-2 to start the ninth inning. Stanford had its top closer, Ryan Bruno, on the mound. The Longhorns had their sixth, seventh and eighth hitters in the order coming up.

 

So, naturally, Texas scored five runs to take the lead.

How? The Stanford bullpen completely imploded and the Longhorns took full advantage.

Bruno couldn’t locate pitches. He walked Eric Kennedy. He hit Jalin Flores with a 3-2 pitch. He walked Jack O’Dowd on a 3-2 count and Stanford went to freshman Matt Scott. He inherited an awful situation. But he had cushion to get out of it.

He started by getting Mitchell Daly to hit a fly ball into the gap in right-center field. It was deep, but it was catchable for Stanford center fielder Eddie Park and right fielder Saborn Campbell. But, Park stepped in front of Campbell, the latter dropped the ball for an error and Texas scored two runs to cut the Cardinal lead to 5-4.

Now, it all seemed inevitable. Jared Thomas grounded out but it scored the tying run. Peyton Powell walked. Stanford intentionally walked Dylan Campbell to load the bases. Scott struck out Garret Guillemette to get the second out.

But Scott couldn’t keep it tied. Porter Brown laced a two RBI single to right field and the Longhorns had another comeback.

Zane Morehouse left no room for doubt in the bottom of the ninth, retiring the side and clinching the victory for Texas.

Trees Bring the Lumber

Sunken Diamond out in Palo Alto is surrounded by trees. The Stanford mascot is, of course, a tree. If you see the Stanford Band perform, you’ll see multiple people in tree costumes.

 

Well, Stanford put their motif to good use against Texas, hitting two home runs that broke open the game for the Cardinal.

The first came in the bottom of the sixth as Drew Bowser hit a one-out solo home run off Lucas Gordon, Texas’ starter and the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year. That shot broke a 2-2 tie and eventually led to Gordon’s exit from the game.

The second one gave the Cardinal some breathing room, as freshman Malcolm Moore hit a two-run shot that brought home Alberto Rios, the Pac-12 Player of the Year who had just doubled for his first hit of the Super Regional. That put Texas down, 5-2.

It was a deficit the Longhorns had no answer for — until the drama in the ninth.

Stanford Got to Gordon

Gordon entered the Super Regional with a 7-1 record and a 2.45 ERA. He had struck out 98 and walked just 29. Starting him in Game 1 was the right call.

But Gordon did something he rarely did all season. He walked hitters. He walked three in an uncharacteristic first inning that allowed Stanford to score a run and take a 1-0 lead.

He finished the game having allowed four walks. That matched his season high. This wasn’t the best time to match it.

After that first inning, Gordon settled down. He threw efficiently and helped keep Texas in the game so that Eric Kennedy’s two-run home run would tie the game.

But he still gave up seven hits, three runs (all earned) and struck out four. It wasn’t quite the outing the Longhorns were hoping for.

 

Gordon’s first reliever, Charlie Hurley, gave up the Cardinal’s second home run.

In reality, it was that first inning that probably put Gordon behind the eight-ball early, as he threw 110 pitches but didn’t get out of the sixth inning.

The Streak is Done

Dylan Campbell’s hitting streak has taken on a life of its own this season. Entering the Super Regional Campbell had broken both the Texas and Big 12 record for longest hitting streak at 38 games. The last time Campbell went without a hit was March 24.

The streak ended on Saturday against the Cardinal.

Campbell went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. His last at-bat was the intentional walk in the ninth. It was the right baseball call. But it was an unceremonious end to the streak.

The good news? Campbell has a chance to start a new streak and the Longhorns have a chance to take the series on Sunday.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

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