Here's a quick look, with plenty of notes, quotes and highlights from the Texas Longhorns' 4-3 win over the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles in front of 5,843 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin on Tuesday night.
Corey Knebel bounced back from allowing a game-tying triple in the eighth to strike out the side in the ninth.
How the Longhorns (11-5) Won
Texas got production from the heart of its order, went back to small ball in a pinch, and came up with a late-game rally after a rough eighth inning from the usually reliable Corey Knebel. Defensive replacements Collin Shaw and Weston Hall came up to bat in the bottom of the eighth and followed a Brooks Marlow two-out single with base hits of their own to score what would be the game-winning run. In a season in which Augie Garrido has talked at length about teamwork the Longhorns got great effort all over the place and from some unexpected guys to win their fifth straight game.
How Golden Eagles (5-10) Lost
Oral Roberts got hitters safely aboard in each of the first eight innings, but couldn't do enough to make Texas pay in the end. The Golden Eagles also botched two plays in the infield that changed the game. C.J Hinojosa beat shortstop Nate Goro to the bag in a two-out bases-loaded situation for a run in the sixth, and Goro couldn't come up with the stop in the eighth on Hall's go-ahead RBI single up the middle - plays that directly resulted in two Texas runs. ORU right fielder Tyler Boss nearly won the game for the Golden Eagles by himself. He finished the day 2-for-3 with two triples and all three RBI. Boss brought home two in the eighth to tie the game after Knebel came in for Ty Marlow. He also scored Jose Trevino in the fourth after the ORU catcher lead the inning off with a walk. Seven times the Golden Eagles got a base runner on with one out or less in the inning, and only twice could they get that runner home.
Not only did Payton get the job done at the plate on Tuesday night but he did something he's never done before on the field. For the first time in his career the right fielder recorded two assists, both on inning-ending double plays. He brought his season average up to .418 after going 2-for-3 at the plate, scoring two of Texas' four runs on the night. The junior is putting together a stellar campaign and has fully entrenched himself as the early MVP of the 2013 Longhorns.
It Was Over When...
Considering what happened to Knebel in the eight, this one wasn't over until the final out was recorded in the ninth. After struggling in the eight, Knebel, who is 1-1 this season after getting credit for the win on Tuesday, came out and struck out the side in the ninth, including a knee-buckler to Graham McIntyre for the game-ending strikeout.
As Augie Garrido looks to find the best combination of offense and defense in a center fielder he looked to Mark Gottsacker on Tuesday night. The freshman from Dallas Highland Park made his first collegiate appearance, and though he went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts, he registered his first RBI as a Longhorn with a sacrifice fly in the sixth. It surely wasn't as big of a day as he'd hoped in his debut, but he gave the Horns an important run with his fly ball to right in what turned into a tight ball game at The Disch.
The starting top third of the Texas lineup had a quiet night tonight. Had they been able to get on base the Horns may have been able to run away with this one with how well Payton and C.J Hinojosa are hitting in the four and five spots, respectively. Ben Johnson, Madison Carter and Erich Weiss went a combined 2-for-13 on the night. Weiss had a great weekend and is going to have his down days to balance things out, but the Horns will need better production overall from the top of its order on a consistent basis to make sure the work being done by Payton in the cleanup spot is not in vain.
The Longhorns had two outs and a runner on first in the bottom of the eighth with Collin Shaw and Weston Hall - two guys brought in in the top of the eighth as defensive replacements - were coming to the plate after Oral Roberts had tied it up. The two subs pulled through. Shaw followed Marlow's single with a hit down the right field line to put runners on first and third, and Hall came up and squeezed one up the middle, just out of the reach of the shortstop, to bring Marlow home and put the Longhorns back on top, 4-3.
Don't look now, but Corey Knebel hasn't been very good to start the year when he inherits runners. He came in with two outs in the eighth and runners on first and second and quickly gave up a triple to the first batter he faced. Knebel's allowed all five runners he's inherited to score this season. His incredible ninth inning shouldn't be overlooked - he flat out overpowered the ORU batters before fooling McIntyre about as bad as a batter can be fooled for the final strikeout - but neither should the fact that he's allowed every runner on base when he's come into the game in 2013 to score.
Stat(s) of the Night
The Longhorns are 5-1 in one-run games this season after Tuesday night. They were 5-7 in all of 2012... Texas' 11 hits against Oral Roberts mark the fifth time the Horns have reached double-digit hits this season with three coming in the last four games.
Story of the Night
Teamwork was the word of the night for the Longhorns. Texas put up a clean sheet on the field despite playing with different faces at center field, left field (Ben Johnson) and first base (Madison Carter), used six different pitchers and got important at-bats from the likes of Hall, Shaw and Jacob Felts. From the dugout to the field this team oozes good chemistry and it showed once again in Texas' 4-3 win over Oral Roberts Tuesday night.
Augie Garrido on teamwork:
"In this game it always is about teamwork. It really is. That's the thing that typically prevails. Somehow it produces ... I don't know what the magic is in that - or the intangibles sometimes people refer to it - but there's something about that."
Garrido on Knebel:
"He made a good pitch on the guy, he just did a good job of hitting. He squared it up and the ball took off and that's going to happen. He went right after it in the ninth inning and got right back into his groove. It was good."
Augie Garrido on teamwork II:
"They really feel good about each other. The spirit of the team is really good, the character of the team is really good, the chemistry of the team is really good."
Mark Payton on getting the two assists:
"I'm always looking to make a throw from right field. It keeps the game fun for me. I enjoy it especially when you know the guys in the infield are going to keep the ball in front of them."
Corey Knebel on the difference between the eighth and ninth:
"I haven't felt like that in a while. I was real nervous, and I'm not too sure. It was just a different ball game for me. I started with the wind up, I started with no runners on. It was just a little different."
[b]Knebel on being up and down:[b]
"I realize I need to fix some stuff. Something's got to go, something's got to change."
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