Connor Shaw

Photo Credit: Sam Ortega | Daily Texan Staff

No. 18 Texas didn’t even need a hit in the bottom of the ninth to walk-off against Stanford (2-4). They loaded the bases on walks, and with two outs, Stanford Michael Brakeman threw a wild pitch as Connor Shaw scurried home to give Texas the 4-3 walk-off win Saturday afternoon.

“It was a good walk-off,” junior starter Dillon Peters said, who went seven innings, allowing two runs. “Both teams battled to the very end.”

The rest of the game was pretty ordinary for a Texas baseball game. Senior outfielder Mark Payton kept hitting while the starting pitching kept pitching well.

The Texas offense got off to a quick start, putting up two runs in the first. After a leadoff walk to junior second baseman Brooks Marlow, Payton roped a single to right. An error and RBI groundout pushed home the two upperclassmen to open the scoring.

It looked as though those two were all Peters would need.  While the Texas offense struggled to push runs across, the lefty was rolling. Through the first six innings, Peters needed just 58 pitches. But then the seventh inning came around.

“I threw alright until the seventh,” Peters said.

With the bases loaded and two outs, Stanford’s nine-hole hitter, sophomore outfielder Zach HoffPauir, pulled a single to left to tie the game, ruining an otherwise tremendous performance from Peters.  

But it didn’t take long for Payton to make his presence felt again. Facing lefty reliever Logan James with two outs and runners at first and second in the bottom of the seventh, the left-handed hitting Payton rifled a 3-2 pitch up the middle to drive in sophomore outfielder Ben Johnson.

“He’s confident,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “He thinks he has them right where they want him.”

For Payton, that was his seventh hit in the series in eight at-bats to run up his season average up to .621.

“I don’t pay attention to it. Not at all,” Payton said, deflecting attention away from his torrid start. “I’m keeping it simple and finding pitches to hit.”

Texas (5-2) then brought in senior Nathan Thornhill (2-0), but after 1.2 scoreless endings Friday night, Thornhill surrendered a two-out, game tying double in the bottom of the eighth. But he worked his way out of a leadoff single in the nine, to put him in line for the win—and the Longhorns came through in the ninth.

After two walks, none other than Payton came to the plate. This time, though, they pitched around him, loading the bases with two outs for CJ Hinojosa. Brakeman (0-1) quickly got ahead of Hinojosa 0-2, but a 1-2 pitch got away from Brakeman and Shaw came home for the walk-off.

“He’s never been in that situation,” Garrido said of Stanford’s freshman pitcher. “He’s never had the experience pitching in front of a crowd. He didn’t have control of his environment and we won the game.”

After firing Lane Kiffin last Saturday, USC athletic director Pat Haden is now tasked with finding his replacement.

Haden has stated that he intends to keep the search private, out of respect for the current senior class, but several candidates to replace Kiffin have already surfaced.

The lead candidate at this point appears to be current Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. The former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach is a Trojan alumnus and understands the culture at USC. With that being said, he has no experience as a college coach.

Other possible replacements include Boise State’s Chris Petersen, Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin and Washington’s Steve Sarkisian, among others.

 

Government shutdown threatens service academy games

The consequences of Congress’ failure to pass the budget have spread to the world of college football.

The Defense Department temporarily shut down sports competition at the service academies - Army, Air Force and Navy - as a result of the government shutdown.

This could have a major impact on one of the greatest rivalries in college football. Air Force is scheduled to take on Navy this weekend and if a resolution can’t be worked out, the game will be cancelled. Army’s contest with Boston College could also be affected by the shutdown. A decision will be made by noon Thursday about whether the academies can play.

 

South Carolina’s Shaw could play on Saturday

South Carolina’s early-season woes went from bad to worse last Saturday when starting quarterback Connor Shaw went down with a shoulder injury and was expected to miss as many as three weeks. But the Gamecocks got some good news early this week as head coach Steve Spurrier announced his quarterback has recovered much quicker than expected and may be good to go this weekend.

If Shaw does play, it will give South Carolina a huge lift. The senior quarterback has been a rare bright spot for the Gamecocks so far this season, completing 65 percent of his passes for 665 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions.

 

Bearcats to play first game since losing teammate

When Cincinnati takes to the field against South Florida this Saturday, it will be their first time on the gridiron since the passing of redshirt freshman Ben Flick on Sept. 21st.

Flick, along with three other students, got in a traffic accident on their way home from a victory over Miami (OH) in Oxford, Ohio. Flick and one other student were killed in the crash. The other two students in the vehicle, Mark Barr and Javon Harrison, are also on the football team. Barr is still in serious condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

A bye week provided the team with some extra time to recover from the loss but head coach Tommy Tuberville is hoping this week’s game will help his players move past the tragedy.