Stafford holds Islanders’ bats at bay

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The Longhorns entered Corpus Christi with payback on their minds Tuesday.
They would end up getting that and then some.
Sam Stafford pitched seven innings of no-hit baseball and the No. 8 Longhorns’ bats came alive at Whataburger Field on Tuesday night, culminating in a 8-1 win over Texas A&M Corpus Christi (20-12).
Stafford (4-0) amassed 11 strikeouts, gave up four walks and didn’t allow a base hit in 118 pitches. Brilliant throughout, he set the tone of the game for the Longhorns (22-7), who made it a point to jump on the Islanders early. Josh Urban came on in relief in the eighth, striking out two in two innings and giving up an unearned run.
 
Texas plated two runs in the first, another in the second and three in the third. With Mark Payton and Erich Weiss in scoring position, Tant Shepherd roped a double to right field to put the first two runs on the board for the Longhorns.
 
Senior Paul Montalbano did most of the work in the second, getting on base with a single to left, then stealing second and advancing to third on an error. Brandon Loy brought him home with an RBI single.
 
The deluge of scoring continued in the third frame, with Lucas Kephart, Shepherd and Kevin Lusson all scoring thanks to RBIs by Jacob Felts, Montalbano and Lusson.
 
The Longhorns would add a run each in the seventh and ninth innings. Their 15 hits in a game is their most on the season, just the kind of offensive performance they were looking for after a disappointing 8-7 loss to the Islanders early in the year in which the Texas offense struggled out of the gate.
 
The Longhorns only had one starter who failed to register a hit — Felts, but he also had an RBI — and were paced by strong games by Montalbano, Shepherd and Erich Weiss, who all went 3-for-5. Shepherd brought in three runs, and Weiss hit his team-leading fifth triple to lead off the seventh inning.
 
Even on an evening when the offense was as good as it has been all year, the story of the game has to be Stafford, who, in pitching the best game of his career, made sure the Longhorns took care of some unfinished business in Corpus.