Longhorns top Owls to advance to regional final


Texas knocked off Rice 3-2 in 11 innings to remain undefeated in the Houston Regional on Saturday.

Both teams went down in order in the first inning, but the Longhorns threatened in the first. Freshman catch Tres Barrera reached first and advanced to second on an error, but was out at third base after a failed bunt by senior designated hitter Madison Carter.  Carter advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt, but the Texas hitters were unable to drive him home.

The Owls scored one in the bottom of the first on two hits, but left two on base as junior pitcher Parker French managed to pitch Texas out of a jam.

The Longhorns answered the Owls in the sixth inning, but running errors prevented them from taking control. Sophomore leftfielder Ben Johnson started off the inning with an infield single but he was subsequently picked off by Rice’s ace Blake Fox. That first out was followed by a double by senior centerfielder Mark Payton, that probably would’ve scored Johnson, but extended Payton’s on-base streak to 97 games. Barrera drove Payton home on a double of his own but Texas failed to produce another run.

Rice answered with a run of their own, thanks to a single, a sacrifice bunt and a double that gave them a 2-1 lead.

Texas had an opportunity to tie the game in the seventh inning after freshman third baseman Zane Gurwitz reached on a single.  Gurwitz advanced to second on a wild pitch that was right in front of the catcher, but was thrown out at third after being too aggressive. Junior second baseman Brooks Marlow followed with a single that would’ve scored Gurwitz.  Rice rattled off two hits in the bottom of their inning, but junior leftfielder Collin Shaw gunned out the Rice runner at third to relieve the threat.

The Longhorns tied the game in the eighth inning with a Payton double and Barrera single that put runners on the corners with no outs. After Carter struck out, sophomore shortstop CJ Hinojosa drove home Payton on a sacrifice fly that was hit just deep enough to score the run.

Texas nearly scored in the ninth inning after, Marlow pounded a ball that just missed leaving the park, but he was stranded at second.

Texas led off the 11th inning with a double by Gurwitz, which was followed by a Marlow single driving in the run.  Marlow tied a career-high with four hits in the contest.  The Longhorns retired the side in the bottom half of the inning to earn the win.

Junior pitcher Parker French pitched a gem, throwing six and two thirds innings of six hit baseball, allowing two runs. Sophomore closer John Curtiss threw four perfect innings to get the win. 

Texas now waits the winner of the Texas A&M and Rice elimination game. The Longhorns will play at 7 PM tonight.