Texas wins tight one in opener versus Stanford

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After leading for eight innings, it looked like the Longhorns might blow it in the ninth.

What was once a 4-1 lead over No. 9 Stanford had shrunk to just a 4-3 advantage. After throwing 120 pitches, it looked like junior pitcher Taylor Jungmann might be running out of steam, losing control of his pitches and allowing a two-RBI single. So the sixth-ranked Longhorns (6-3) put their fate in the hardly-tested right arm of freshman Corey Knebel to get the final out with Stanford runners on second and first.
The risk paid off.

Knebel made Texas a winner, snagging a sharp grounder hit back to the pitcher’s mound by Brian Ragira and tossing the final out to first base. It is the first save of his career.

“My heart was pounding, but it felt really good to go out there and get my first save here [Disch-Falk],” Knebel said.

Head coach Augie Garrido liked what he saw from his young pitcher in such a high-pressure situation.
“He is a really good athlete,” Garrido said. “He gets off the mound good, he throws to the bases good. He can go to the inside and then to the outside with his fastball and he gets enough on it that the batters have trouble.”

The Longhorns also received strong performances from freshmen Mark Payton and Erich Weiss, who led a scoring charge in the eighth inning. With Brandon Loy on first, Payton launched a shot over right fielder Austin Wilson’s head, deep enough for an RBI-triple. Payton came in to score after Weiss hit an RBI-single to left field.

After two weeks in which he struggled at the plate, hitting .087, junior Jordan Etier delivered in a big way with his fifth inning 2-RBI double that jump started the scoring for the Longhorns.

“[The hit] was nice. We needed that,” he said. “The Stanford pitcher [Mark Appel] was doing pretty good so it shifted the momentum. It was good for the team and we started rallying after that.”

Jungmann was brilliant through most of the game, not allowing a hit until the fifth inning and striking out nine Stanford batters. But fatigue hit him in the ninth as his pitch count climbed higher and higher.

“I looked good but I had a couple of bad pitches towards the end,” Jungmann said. “I lost my feel a little bit and got a little tired towards the end.”

His efforts were enough to get his third win of the year, a win that gives the Longhorns a 1-0 series lead over the Cardinal.