Here's a quick look, with plenty of notes, quotes and highlights from the Texas Longhorns' 4-3 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers in front of 6,718 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin on Saturday afternoon.
Erich Weiss went 2-for-3 and scored the game winning run on Saturday.
How the Longhorns (5-1) Won
Texas went about its business for the full nine innings. The Horns pieced together a rally here and a rally there, scoring a single run in four of the nine innings, and going through seven different pitchers to pull out their third one-run win of the young 2013 season. The Horns took a 2-0 lead after Codey McElroy (1-for-3, RBI) brought home Jacob Felts with a hard hit double in the second and Mark Payton (0-for-2, 2 RBI) laid down a sac bunt to score Taylor Stell in the third. Nebraska kept fighting back, tying it at 2-2 and then 3-3, before freshman shortstop C.J Hinojosa (2-for-5, RBI) slapped a 1-1 pitch up the middle, allowing Erich Weiss to score the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth.
How Huskers (0-6) Lost
Nebraska fought hard on Saturday behind starting pitcher Christian DeLeon. The junior right-hander went six innings, striking out seven and allowing only two runs on five hits. When DeLeon was pulled after the sixth inning he had retired 11 of the last 12 Longhorn batters he faced. The Husker pitching staff did enough to win the game, but the bats couldn't put together a big enough inning to get over the hump and take the lead. Nebraska had two opportunities in the seventh and eighth to take the lead, but Augie Garrido began playing the matchup game with his relievers, going through six pitchers over that two-inning span and got out of both jams with the Huskers stranding two runners in each inning.
It's got to go to Hinojosa. Nobody dominated the day on the mound or at the plate, so the award goes to Texas' freshman shortstop for stepping up in a big spot to get the win for Texas....
It Was Over When...
....After Taylor Stell started the ninth with a ground out to second, Erich Weiss smashed a stand-up double to deep right-center field. That brought up Texas' hottest hitter, Mark Payton. Nebraska opted to walk Payton to get to Hinojosa, who was just 1-for-4 on the day with two strikeouts. The curveball had fooled him earlier in the day, so he went to the plate after a talk with Garrido looking for it, and when Husker reliever Dylan Vogt threw one he pounced on it and put it up the middle for the game-winning base hit.
Sophomore Dillon Peters moved up the rotation after last week's great Sunday start and got the call today. He came through with a solid six innings with four strikeouts, six hits and two runs (one earned). He wasn't dominant Saturday afternoon, but he was using his change-up effectively and letting the defense behind him take care of business.
The Longhorns had a golden opportunity in the seventh inning to give themselves a huge cushion, but couldn't take advantage of it. With the Nebraska pitchers struggling to find the strike zone after DeLeon was pulled, the Horns had the bases loaded and a 3-2 lead but couldn't add to it. Hinojosa struck out looking on a great change-up from Josh Roeder to end the inning. Lucky for Hinojosa he would get another opportunity.
The words of wisdom Garrido went to to inspire Hinojosa before his game-deciding at-bat.
"He played for kind of a character-type select team coach (Ray DeLeon in the Houston area). I couldn't think of anything else, so I went up to him and just said, 'What was the name of that Banditos coach that you played for? The name of the team suits you, but what was the name of that guy?' He said, 'You mean Ray?!' I said, 'Yeah, Ray. You were the best player on that team by far. I saw you go 3-for-5 right here in that ballpark one day playing for that maniac. Just play like you played for him, man. Have some fun. This one's for Ray.' That was it."
There wasn't one today. It was a solid, exciting game played by both squads.
Stat(s) of the Night
The Longhorns are 4-of-7 (.571) as a team with bases loaded... With runners in scoring position Texas is batting .333.... After Saturday's game Mark Payton and C.J Hionjosa are both 9-for-21 (.429) on the season... Texas has 15 stolen bases through six games.
Story of the Night
Don't look now but the Longhorns are clutch. Last year's team struggled with one-run games, this year's team is off to a 3-0 start. Texas' starting pitching was solid for the fifth time in six games, its relief pitching held on, and the batters came through when it absolutely counted. There wasn't a big inning for either team. Both teams stuck with it and found ways to score here and there, but in the end the Horns found that one extra run at the very end to take the game 4-3 and set up an opportunity to sweep their one-time conference rival Sunday at noon.
Augie Garrido on going so deep into his bullpen:
"Are we gonna do that all the time? I don't know, we'll do what we have to do. I think early in the year you have to win these close games to give the team the kind of confidence and support that they can build off of."
Garrido on winning a game like this one:
"Every time you win one of these types of games it is a support to the fact if you keep your commitment to learning from the things that go wrong you can become better and better and better, but it really takes a lot of confidence and willpower, and trust is a big word, to stick with your plan and to maintain self-control."
C.J Hinojosa on the final at-bat:
"I had had four at-bats before that - two were good, two were bad. Everything just kind of cleared throughout, Augie kind of calmed me down. I just went up there with a clear mind and just had fun with it."
Hinojosa on coming up after Mark Payton was intentionally walked:
"A lot of teams have a lot of respect for our three and four guys, which is Erich (Weiss) and Mark. Those guys have done great these last two years that they've played here. It just feels good that I can back our team up."