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Thursday - June 30, 2011

Alumni news: Stayton Thomas

I just noticed that Stayton Thomas had signed with the Rays and has already played in 3 games! He's playing with the GCL Rays (Rookie league). He's sporting a 0.00 ERA to date. Cool! Here's a link to his player page. Good for Stayton!

Posted by Joanna at 1:01 PM | Permalink

Monday - June 20, 2011

Game 68: North Carolina at Texas (College World Series)

Game 5 of the 2011 College World Series. First elimination game of the 2011 CWS. Texas played home to North Carolina. Took the afternoon off from work and did my usual. And, so...

The lineups:

North Carolina  Texas
Chaz Frank (lf)
Ben Bunting (cf)
Colin Moran (3b)
Jesse Wierzbicki (1b)
Tommy Coyle (2b)
Jacob Stallings (c)
Levi Michael (ss)
Brian Holberton (dh)
Seth Baldwin (rf)
Tant Shepherd (1b)
Mark Payton (rf)
Brandon Loy (ss)
Erich Weiss (3b)
Jonathan Walsh (lf)
Paul Montalbano (cf)
Jacob Felts (c)
Kevin Lusson (dh)
Jordan Etier (2b)

Play by play:

Have to give credit to Kent Emanuel who pitched a great game. By my count, he threw 126 pitches (84 for strikes) and only gave up 4 singles. But, sadly, the Horns just did not seem to have much fire today. So very sorry to see them go out in 2. I was sure they'd win and was already trying to figure out how to change my dinner plans for Wednesday so I'd be able to watch the next game. Oh well...not meant to be, I guess.

The line:

[line]

Paraphrased comments from the post-game news conference:

Sigh...more thoughts on the season in a separate post in the next day or two.

Hook 'em, Horns!

Posted by Joanna at 4:40 PM | Permalink

Saturday - June 18, 2011

Game 67: Texas at Florida (College World Series)

Game 2 of the 2011 College World Series. Texas played visitor to Florida. I watched on TV and here's how things played out. And, yes...I know, most of you watched the game. Not sure what's up here...other than just to have it all documented.

The lineups:

Texas  Florida
Tant Shepherd (1b)
Mark Payton (rf)
Brandon Loy (ss)
Erich Weiss (3b)
Paul Montalbano (cf)
Jonathan Walsh (lf)
Kevin Lusson (dh)
Jacob Felts (c)
Jordan Etier (2b)
Nolan Fontana (ss)
Bryson Smith (cf)
Preson Tucker (1b)
Mike Zunino (c)
Brian Johnson (dh)
Josh Adams (2b)
Tyler Thompson (lf)
Daniel Pigott (rf)
Cody Dent (3b)

Play by play:

Final numbers for Knebel: 1 inning, 4 batters, no runs, 1 hit (single), 1 strikeout, 9 pitches (7 for strikes).

Taylor Jungmann took his 3rd loss of the post-season in as many chances. Along with his 3rd loss of the year. So hard to believe. And, very sad.

Here's the line (from GameTracker):

[Final line score]

Some of the post-game conference comments (please note these are very paraphrased):

That last comment from Loy is interesting. I think the result still would've been balk plus fielder's choice if Shepherd had thrown to 2b. He needed to get the batter out to make him go back to the plate. I don't think he really had a chance to make the out at 1b once he made the initial move to try for the out at 2b...he was pretty far off the bag by then.

Texas will now play North Carolina in an elimination game on Monday at 1 o'clock. (Florida and Vanderbilt play at 6 o'clock that evening.)

Hook 'em, Horns!

Posted by Joanna at 10:26 PM | Permalink

Tuesday - June 14, 2011

The batter's interference thing

I know...I owe y'all a game report. But...if you'll indulge me...that batter's interference thing has been weighing on my mind.

Let me be clear: I have not seen a replay of the batter's interference call in the final game of the Austin Super Regional between Texas and Arizona State. I was in the stands and was just as confused as everyone else. I knew that if the umpire called offensive interference, the batter was out and the runner would have to go back to 1b. What I wasn't sure about was whether or not you could call interference if it was Ball 4.

So, I went looking for some clarification.

The rules are available for download from the NCAA publications web site so check them out for yourself. Here's the definition of interference:

The act of an offensive player, umpire or nongame person who interferes with; physically or verbally hinders; confuses; or impedes any fielder attempting to make a play.

Two more points:

If the umpire declares the batter, batter-runner or a runner out for interference, all other runners shall return to the last base that was touched legally at the time of the interference, unless otherwise provided by these rules. The ball is dead.

If the batter-runner has not touched first base at the time of interference, all runners shall return to the base last occupied at the time of the pitch. If there was an intervening play made on another runner, all runners shall return to the base last touched at the time of interference.

More specifically (Rule 7, Section 11.f), a batter is out when:

The batter intentionally or unintentionally interferes with the catcher's fielding or throwing by stepping out of the batter's box or making any other movement that hinders a defensive player's action at home plate.

The penalty:

The runner(s) return to the base occupied at the time of interference.

Please note that the rule does not say anything about whether or not the pitch is a ball or a strike...leading to a walk or strikeout. And, it specifically says that the action need not be intentional. It does not say that there has to be contact. Merely stepping out of the batter's box and across the plate while the catcher is trying to throw to 2b can constitute hindrance.

The count was full at the time of the call...with a right-handed batter standing on the left side of the plate. The runner was off with the pitch. In the catcher's mind, he had a shot at a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play. In that instance, he cannot wait to hear whether or not the umpire calls the pitch a ball or a strike; he has to throw to 2b to try and catch the runner from 1b. If he waits on the call, he's got no shot at making the out at 2b. The batter did step out of the batter's box toward 1b. The umpire had every reason to call interference. And, as soon as the umpire called interference, the play was dead, the batter was out, and any runners on the base paths had to return to their original positions. That's the rule. It was, interestingly, interpreted correctly.

At the time, in the heat of the moment, it would seem that the "fair" result would have been to return the runner from 3b to 2b and have runners at 1b and 2b. After all, it was Ball 4. But, that's not the rule. Whether or not you agree with the home plate umpire's assessment of interference can also be debated. But, once he calls it, the play is over. We've got no replay review in baseball. And, frankly, I doubt very seriously that this sort of call would be eligible for review even if we did.

UPDATE. Craig Amick (Twitter handle: craigamick_co) argues that Rule 8, Section 3 would allow for a different interpretation: that the base runner from 1b would actually be entitled to advance to 2b due to the base-on-balls awarded to the batter. The batter would still be out due to the interference call but the moment the ball was called, the runner from 1b automatically gets 2b. Obviously the runner wasn't physically at 2b at the time of the interference call but he was entitled to the base because Ball 4 had been called against the batter.

Rule 8, Sections 3a and 3b state that a runner is entitled to the next base:

(a) If forced to vacate the base because of a following runner.

(b) If forced to vacate the base because the batter was awarded that base.

Was the batter awarded 1b on the base-on-balls call? Or does the interference override the walk? If it does, the runner at 1b is not forced to vacate. It's not at all clear.

Hmmm...

Posted by Joanna at 12:56 PM | Permalink

Monday - June 13, 2011

Game 66: Arizona State at Texas (Austin Super Regional)

Texas won the Austin Super Regional! And, my game report is late! It'll come, though. Patience. It will be rewarded. Well, if you consider my game reports a reward. Hook 'em.

Posted by Joanna at 8:05 AM | Permalink

Sunday - June 12, 2011

Game 65: Texas at Arizona State (Austin Super Regional)

Texas bounced back in a big way to beat Arizona State 5-1 in the 2nd game of the Austin Super Regional. The line...

[line]

Note how the Horns scored 5 runs on 8 hits in Game 2 of the Super Regional verses 1 run on 8 hits in Game 1. How does that happen? Gotta love baseball. Right????

It was a hot (98 °F at the start of the game) but gorgeous day at Disch-Falk Field.

[conditions]

It did drop down to 91 by the end of the game. And, we had a bit of a breeze most of the day. But, with the stands packed, there's not much relief to be had. Not that I'm complaining. Nosireebob. I'd much rather be out in that than at home watching someone else play on TV! And, so...

The lineups:

Texas  Arizona State
Tant Shepherd (1b)
Mark Payton (rf)
Brandon Loy (ss)
Erich Weiss (3b)
Jonathan Walsh (lf)
Kevin Lusson (dh)
Paul Montalbano (cf)
Jacob Felts (c)
Jordan Etier (2b)
Johnny Ruettiger (lf)
Deven Marrero (ss)
Riccio Torrez (3b)
Joey DeMichele (dh)
Zach Wilson (1b)
Matt Newman (rf)
Xorge Carrillo (c)
Zack MacPhee (2b)
Andrew Aplin (cf)

Yep...Texas played visitor. Cole Green started for Texas and, with a bit of help from his bullpen, moved his record to 8-3. And, Corey Knebel earned his 18th save of the year...1 shy of the Texas single-season record. The Horns need to move on to the CWS so they can improve those numbers, don't you think?

The story of the game, though, was Jordan Etier. He struggled in Game 1. But, he found something in himself overnight and turned things around in a big way for Game 2. He went 3-for-4 with 2 singles and a 3-run homerun (!) to pace the offense. And, he was smooth as can be on defense all day (he even had an unassisted double play). It's a good story. I'm happy for him.

And, so...the play by play:

Really nice win for the Horns. Texas will now play home team in the final game of the Super Regional. That was determined by a coin flip before the tournament started. Stafford will be on the mound for Texas. ASU has not announced a starter. Hook 'em, Horns!

Posted by Joanna at 3:25 PM | Permalink

Saturday - June 11, 2011

Senior Day Photos

Senior Day took place on May 21st...the last regular-season game against the Aggies. Texas honored the six Seniors on the squad before the game. I took some photos and I've finally gotten around to sharing them. Sadly, I did not manage to get great photos of all of them. Sorry about that. I tried.

Kendal Carrillo:

[Kendal Carrillo]

Cole Green:

[Cole Green]

Ben Kaplan:

[Ben Kaplan]

Paul Montalbano:

[Paul Montalbano]

Tant Shepherd:

[Tant Shepherd]

Stayton Thomas:

[Stayton Thomas]

Thanks to all the Seniors. I wish them nothing but the best as the move on in life. Hook 'em!

Posted by Joanna at 12:35 PM | Permalink

Post-season roster

I got email asking for the post-season roster. They were not handing it out at the games. And, I don't know if it changed between the Regional and Super Regional. But, here's a list of the guys who were suited-up for Texas at last night's game:

That leaves the following players from the regular-season roster off:

Kjerstad, Nuncio, and Thomas are the only players on that list who saw playing time during the regular season this year...not a lot for any of them. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't know how they decide who gets to wear one of those 27 uniforms for post-season games. Personally, I'm saddest to see Stayton Thomas, a Senior, left off the Super Regional roster.

UPDATE. Thanks to Donald J. Boyles (Twitter handle djbfootball) the list is now official. He wrote to the baseball SID asking for a roster and passed it on to me. I'd based my original list on the roster numbers of the players suited up. It turns out that for post-season play, Hunter Wilcox is wearing jersey #46 which was worn by Ben Kaplan during the regular season (Wilcox wore #45). So, originally, I listed Kaplan as being on the roster and Wilcox off...turns out, it's the other way around.

UPDATE #2. Sigh. I don't have any idea what was going on with me. Kaplan work #45 and Wilcox wore #46 all season. I just got that wrong somehow. Shrug. Too many long days in the heat at Disch-Falk as I was working on this? Sigh...sorry about the mix-up.

Posted by Joanna at 12:03 PM | Permalink

Game 64: Arizona State at Texas (Austin Super Regional)

On Monday I wrote:

This Texas team really seems to have turned a corner. If they keep playing the way they did over the last couple of days, they will be in Omaha in a couple of weeks.

Sorry to say, the Horns did not, in fact, keep playing that way. Instead, this happened...

[line]

That "2" in the error column pretty much tells the story of what went wrong in today's game. Well, that and the fact that the Horns only managed to score 1 run off 8 hits.

The lineups:

Arizona State  Texas
Johnny Ruettiger (lf)
Deven Marrero (ss)
Riccio Torrez (3b)
Joey DeMichele (dh)
Zach Wilson (1b)
Matt Newman (rf)
Austin Barnes (c)
Zack MacPhee (2b)
Andrew Aplin (cf)
Tant Shepherd (1b)
Mark Payton (rf)
Brandon Loy (ss)
Erich Weiss (3b)
Paul Montalbano (cf)
Jonathan Walsh (lf)
Kevin Lusson (dh)
Jacob Felts (c)
Jordan Etier (2b)

Frankly, I'm not much in the mood for doing the play-by-play thing. Especially since I imagine most of you watched the game on TV if you weren't able to make it to Disch-Falk Field. But...what the heck? Here goes...

Play by play:

Whew. Jungmann pitched a good game. Alas, he did not get the offensive support he needed to overcome a couple of unexpected defensive mishaps on the field. And, hat tip to Arizona State. They played a good game.

I hope the Horns respond (as they usually do) with a big win this evening...and another tomorrow! People keep talking about the fact that Texas only lost one 3-game series this year. They really need to hold onto those winning ways here!

Posted by Joanna at 11:39 AM | Permalink

Wednesday - June 8, 2011

MLB Draft, Day 3

Here's a final list of Texas players and signees selected in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft:

The final 4 on the list were selected today. Special shout out to the seniors on the list. I wish them all the best! Obviously, none of them will be returning to the team next year. It's hard to imagine any of the players in the top 10 rounds of the draft will be on campus next year but you never know.

Hook 'em, Horns!

Posted by Joanna at 11:01 PM | Permalink

Tuesday - June 7, 2011

MLB Draft, Days 1 and 2

The MLB Draft started last night. They got through the first round and the 1st "sandwich" round (aka Comp A) last evening and started up with Round 2 this morning. Of interest to Texas so far:

That's great news for Taylor and Sam. I wish them the best of luck!

Josh Bell sent out a letter a couple of weeks ago saying he did not want to be drafted...that he's coming to Texas. I hope he does come to Texas. Time will tell.

Added as the day wore on:

Cole Green chose to stay at Texas and play his Senior year with the Horns instead of signing with the Tigers last year. Sorry to report that his draft location did drop this year. Thanks so much, Cole, for spending another year with us!

Thanks to Tant Shepherd as well for spending his Senior season with the Horns. Love getting to see Longhorns play an extra year!

Check back as I will update this post throughout the day as I have time with names as I hear them.

I've also set up my 2011 MLB Draft Summary Page which has additional info, including news on other Big 12 teams. Check it out.

PS: Thanks to Donald J. Boyles for pointing out that I left a few signees off the list above. I'd added them to the summary page but forgot to add them here.

Posted by Joanna at 11:59 AM | Permalink

Monday - June 6, 2011

Austin Regional Tournament, Day 4

Championship Game: Kent State at Texas

Texas continued playing with purpose today and beat Kent State by a score of 5-0 to win the Austin Regional Championship. The offense (aided by a couple of Kent State errors) scored solo runs in the 1st, 3rd, 6th, 7th, and 8th. Slow and steady wins the race? Sam Stafford got the nod and started on the mound. He did exactly what the Horns needed and threw 3.2 scoreless innings. He did give up a few hits and a walk. But, with a fine defensive effort behind him, he held Kent State's offense in check. Kendal Carrillo threw an inning. Hoby Milner threw 1.1. Cole Green threw the 7th. Yeah...really. Taylor Jungmann threw the 8th. Yeah...really, really! And, Corey Knebel threw the 9th. I have to admit that I was very surprised when I looked up at the start of the 7th and saw Green standing on the mound instead of Knebel. The surprise did not go away when it was Jungmann instead of Knebel for the 8th. But, Green only threw 9 pitches and Jungmann 13. And, they really looked happy to be out there...especially Cole Green. He was pumped up as he ran off the field after his inning. It was such a contrast to his usual deliberate walk off the mound. Fun city. Anyway, the Horns now need to get ready to play Arizona State in the Super Regional this weekend. This Texas team really seems to have turned a corner. If they keep playing the way they did over the last couple of days, they will be in Omaha in a couple of weeks. Hook 'em, Horns!

Elsewhere

In other action...

Where will the Super Regional between Dallas Baptist and Cal be played? Dunno. It sounded like they had a pretty good crowd at TCU. Maybe the Frogs could host it? Heh. I read at some point this evening that Dallas Baptist and Oral Roberts were preferred as hosts over Cal in the event that Cal won the Houston Regional since Cal does not have lights at their stadium. Oh well. 'Guess we'll find out soon enough.

So, sadly, Baylor is out...leaving only two Big 12 teams still in contention. And, we won't know about the Aggies until late tomorrow afternoon.

In other (better...in some ways) news, tonight marked the start of the 2011 MLB draft. And...Taylor Jungmann was selected 12th overall by the Brewers. Congratulations, Taylor! Hook 'em, Horns!

[So...that was the good news.] The not as good news (although, I'm sure it's great news for the players in question), two Texas signees were also drafted in the first round: (1) Dylan Bundy, 4th overall by the Orioles, and (2) Blake Swihart, 26th overall by the Red Sox.

UPDATE (Tuesday afternoon). Texas A&M beat Arizona 3-0 on Tuesday to win the College Station Regional. They're now headed to Tallahassee Super Regional where they'll face Florida State (National Seed #5). Congrats to the Aggies.

And, the Super Regional between Cal and Dallas Baptist will be played on the campus of UC-Santa Barbara. I have to say I'm not too terribly surprised that they picked a spot in California. Before that selection, Austin was the westernmost Super Regional and we're in the Central Time Zone. I'm sure ESPN really wanted some games to be played on the West Coast.

Posted by Joanna at 11:45 PM | Permalink

Game 63: Kent State at Texas (Austin Regional)

This is a placeholder. I'm just too tired to write the game report up tonight. I will do it tomorrow. Do know that Texas won 5-0. And, they did it in fine fashion. I just got caught up with the MLB draft and then the Dallas Baptist and Baylor games and...ugh...I can't face doing a full report right now. So...placeholder. I'll be back.

UPDATE. Well, that took more than a day but here I am!

Texas chose to go with their Game 1 starter from Friday night (Sam Stafford) in Game 7 of the Austin Regional and see how far he could go. He gave up a 2-out double and a walk in the first and then buckled down to give the Horns 3.2 solid innings of work. Which is exactly what they needed. Kendal Carrillo, Hoby Milner, Cole Green, Taylor Jungmann, and Corey Kenebel threw 1 inning apiece (well, Milner threw 1.1) for a combined 5-hit shutout. Loved it. On the offensive side of things, the Horns scored the first run of the game in the 1st and steadily added single runs as the game wore on.

The line...

[line]

The lineups:

Kent State  Texas
Evan Campbell (cf)
Jimmy Rider (ss)
Travis Shaw (3b)
Ben Klafczynski (rf)
David Lyon (c)
Jason Bagoly (dh)
George Roberts (1b)
Joe Koch (lf)
Derek Toadvine (2b)
Tant Shepherd (1b)
Mark Payton (rf)
Brandon Loy (ss)
Erich Weiss (3b)
Paul Montalbano (cf)
Kevin Lusson (dh)
Jonathan Walsh (lf)
Jacob Felts (c)
Jordan Etier (2b)

Play by play:

It was really nice to see Texas keep the offensive heat up as the game wore on. If they continue to play this way, they'll win the Super Regional and go far at the CWS. Hook 'em, Horns!

By the way, it was HOT out there. Noticed this on the scoreboard when Walsh was batting in the 6th:

[102 deg. F]

Yep...102 degrees F. Ugh.

Posted by Joanna at 11:32 PM | Permalink

Austin Regional Tournament, Day 3

Game 1: Texas State at Texas

With a clutch throwing performance on the mound by Cole Green who went 8 innings, an offense that came alive (!), and a walk-off ground-rule double (that was officially scored a single) by Kevin Lusson, the Horns won the first game of the day, beating Texas State 4-3 to stave off elimination. See my full game report for details.

Game 2: Texas at Kent State

The Horns kept up their offensive ways and beat Kent State 9-3. Again, I have to stress how great it was seeing this team play with a sense of purpose. I can't imagine how happy all the coaches must be to see the team gel like this on the field. And, the team's got to be so excited. I hope they can keep it up. See my game report for more details on their win over Kent State.

Elsewhere

In other (mostly Big 12-related) action around the country...

Three Big 12 teams are still hoping for a chance to advance to the Super Regional. Good luck to all of them!

Posted by Joanna at 8:54 AM | Permalink

Game 62: Texas at Kent State (Austin Regional)

I tried to get these game reports done last night but was just too tired. Which means this second one is even shorter than the first one. Sorry about that. I should've planned to take the whole day off. Alas...I did not. Anyway...

Texas staved off elimination from the Austin Regional for the second game in-a-row. And, it was a lovely thing to see. The offense continued to attack as they'd done in the earlier game. It was wonderful to see the Longhorns playing with fire and passion. Truly wonderful. I so hope they can keep it up. Don't you? If the team keeps playing like this, they can go deep in the College World Series. But...I'm getting ahead of myself. The line:

[line]

Yep...Texas played visitor to Kent State again. The rules state that the team with the fewest stints as home team in the tournament gets to play home team.

The lineups:

Texas  Kent State
Tant Shepherd (1b)
Mark Payton (rf)
Brandon Loy (ss)
Erich Weiss (3b)
Paul Montalbano (cf)
Jonathan Walsh (lf)
Kevin Lusson (dh)
Jacob Felts (c)
Jordan Etier (2b)
Evan Campbell (cf)
Jimmy Rider (ss)
Travis Shaw (3b)
Ben Klafczynski (rf)
David Lyon (c)
Jason Bagoly (dh)
George Roberts (1b)
Joe Koch (lf)
Derek Toadvine (2b)

Hoby Milner (lhp) started on the mound for Texas (no decision) and David Starn (lhp) started for Kent State and took the loss.

Texas used more pitchers in the evening contest. Their numbers:

It really was quite lovely. To top off the great team-effort pitching performance, the offense kept up their fighting ways. They jumped all over Starn in the 1st inning and set the tone for the game. Shepherd led off with a 5-pitch walk. Payton moved him to 2b on a really nice 5-3 sac bunt. Loy lined a single into cf scoring Shepherd. Weiss singled through the right side, moving Loy to 2b. They then executed a double steal. Montalbano grounded out to 1b (unassisted), scoring Loy and moving Weiss to 3b. Walsh lined a double into cf, scoring Weiss. Walsh was stranded at 2b but the damage had been done. They kept up the pressure throughout the game and did not go down in order a single time. So purty.

In the 9th, with a 3-run lead, they decided a little insurance would be good. Montalbano reached on a 1-out single up the middle. Walsh lined a single into rf, moving Montalbano to 2b. And, Kevin Lusson...in the 9th, with 2 aboard, and hitting from the left side...hit a beautiful 3-run shot over the rf fence just left of the Wendy's sign. Gorgeous!

Here's hoping the spark continues to burn in the final game of the Regional. Hook 'em, Horns!

Posted by Joanna at 8:44 AM | Permalink

Game 61: Texas State at Texas (Austin Regional)

With two games to recap and a morning at work before this afternoon's game, I just don't have time to do my usual full-game report with complete play-by-play. Sorry about that but...shrug.

Texas faced elimination from the Austin Regional as they played home team to Texas state in the first game of the day. Thankfully, the Horns came away with a win to survive and move on to the evening contest. The line:

[line]

The lineups:

Texas State  Texas
Tyler Sibley (2b)
Bret Atwood (cf)
Casey Kalenkosky (1b)
Kyle Kubitza (3b)
Andrew Stumph (c)
Jeff McVaney (rf)
Clint Vest (dh)
Morgan Mickan (lf)
Christian Gallegos (ss)
Tant Shepherd (1b)
Mark Payton (rf)
Brandon Loy (ss)
Erich Weiss (3b)
Paul Montalbano (cf)
Kevin Lusson (dh)
Jonathan Walsh (lf)
Jordan Etier (2b)
Jacob Felts (c)

Cole Green (rhp) started on the mound for Texas. Colton Turner (lhp) started or Texas State.

Cole Green really needed to give the Horns some innings today and he came through in a major way. He went 8 innings and gave up 2 runs (both earned). He faced 28 batters, gave up 4 hits (homerun, double, 2 singles), struck out 8, did not walk or hit any...all on 104 pitches (72 for strikes). It's a crying shame that he did not earn a win after all that. Texas sent Corey Knebel to the mound to throw the 9th. He entered the game with a 3-2 lead. Sadly, it did not hold up. He gave up an un-earned run. Texas scored a run in the bottom of the 9th, though, which gave him a win...moving his record to 3-2. He threw 1 inning, faced 4 batters, and gave up 1 unearned run, while giving up a single, and striking out 1. He threw 10 pitches (8 for strikes). I'm guessing he'll be available for long relief in Monday's game.

The offense woke up today. In summary (going down the line):

I have to admit that it would've been nice to see a few more runs scored off all those hits but...damn...it was just so good to see Texas being aggressive at the plate and getting on base.

How the teams scored their runs:

Kevin Lusson hitting left-handed in the 9th inning comes through. He did the same on Saturday night with that 3-run blast. Amazing. With the win, the Horns had to immediately start thinking about the night-cap against Kent State.

Posted by Joanna at 7:52 AM | Permalink

Sunday - June 5, 2011

Game 60: Texas at Kent State (Austin Regional)

So...yeah. It turns out, Taylor Jungmann is human. Who knew? He suffered his first career loss at Disch-Falk Field as the Horns went down 5-7 to Kent State on Day 2 of the Austin Regional. When the field was announced, I cannot tell you how many people said the Austin Regional was gonna be a cake-walk for Texas. Oh...and watch out for Kent State. That's a very dangerous #3 seed. I kept wanting to ask which one it was. I mean, either it's a cake walk or it's not. Apparently? Not. Kent State gambled and saved their ace for Day 2 action. It payed off. Especially since Jungmann did not have a Jungmann-esque day on the mound.

The line:

[line]

The lineups:

Texas  Kent State
Tant Shepherd (1b)
Mark Payton (rf)
Brandon Loy (ss)
Erich Weiss (lf)
Jonathan Walsh (dh)
Paul Montalbano (lf)
Jacob Felts (c)
Jordan Etier (2b)
Cohl Walla (cf)
Evan Campbell (cf)
Jimmy Rider (ss)
Travis Shaw (3b)
Ben Klafczynski (rf)
David Lyon (c)
T.J. Sutton (dh)
George Roberts (1b)
Joe Kock (lf)
Derek Toadvine (2b)

Play by play:

At the time, the way the top of the 6th inning went for Texas struck me as being a very bad thing. I just didn't like it and commented to my seat-mate that I was not happy that Texas seemed content with that 2-1 lead. That, right there, is the thing about this team that seems to be wrong this year. This feeling is admittedly coming from very high up in the stands where I have no direct knowledge of what's going on with anyone on the team. I have sat through 95% of the innings played at Disch-Falk Field this year and have listened to or watched a good 80% of what's gone on while they've been on the road. There seems to be no fire and little (often no) sense of urgency on the offensive side of things. Too many times this year, the Horns didn't seem to come to life until it was too late. This game right here? Yet another example. (And, yeah..I know...good Kent State pitcher throwing a very good game. I saw it. All the credit to him. Still.)

Question: where are Stayton Thomas and Keifer Nuncio? I'm particularly puzzled by the fact that Thomas was left off the roster for the Regional. The Horns need arms as they try to win this thing from the wrong side of the bracket. Sigh. Maybe they're hurt? I dunno. It's just sad to me that Thomas, in his Senior season, isn't out there.

Here's hoping the fire was ignited in that 9th inning and the Horns pull off the hard-to-imagine and win this thing. It can be done. Since the NCAA switched to the current format, it's been done 18% of the time. The odds are not great. But, it can be done. Hook 'em, Horns!

Posted by Joanna at 10:23 AM | Permalink

Austin Regional Tournament, Day 2

Game 1: Texas State at Princeton

Texas State beat Princeton 3-1 in the first game of the day to send Princeton home. The Bobcats scored 1 in the 4th and 2 in the 8th. The Tigers did not manage to get on the board until the bottom of the 8th. Princeton did strand runners in scoring position in the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th. So, they had some chances. But, the Texas State starter (Mitchell Pitts) kept managing to get out of trouble. In contrast, Texas State only left runners in scoring position in the 1st and 5th innings. In the 5th, they actually managed to load the bases on back-to-back-to-back singles. (Although, I'd argue the final single was actually a fielder's choice. With runners at the corners, the Bobcats bunted down the 3b line...safety squeeze. The pitcher fielded the ball and looked the runner back to 3b. By the time he was sure the runner wasn't going to break for home, he did not have a play at 1b. He had time to make the out; however, he chose to make sure his opponent did not score a run. Sounds like a fielder's choice to me.) The 4th batter of the inning, though, hit into a 5-2-3 double play and the next lined out to lf. At that point, it felt a bit as though, the Bobcats might've run out of chances. But, no...they scored two more runs to put the game away and live another day. Interestingly, both starters went 7.1 innings

Game 2: Texas at Kent State

Kent State (playing as the home team) jumped out to an early 1-run lead over Texas in the 1st inning. Texas tied things up in the 4th and scored a go-ahead run in the 5th. However, the Horns did not take advantage of the momentum they seemed to be gathering and went down in order in the next three innings. That was on the offensive side of things. Defensively...wow. Taylor Jungmann suffered his first career-loss at Disch-Falk Field. A walk, 2 singles, and a grand slam into the Texas bullpen to start off the bottom half of the 6th stunned everyone. After the homerun, a fly out (about 10 feet shy of the previous hit) and a ground out were followed with another walk and another single...which chased Jungmann from the game. With Andrew McKirahan on the mound, a double steal and another single to plate two more runs seemed to put the game away as the Horns fell behind 2-7. A spark of something came to life in the 9th, though. With 2 out, Jonathan Walsh reached on a bloop double down the rf line that fell into no-man's land. Paul Montalbano then drew a 4-pitch walk. Which finally chased the Kent State starter (ace Andrew Chafin). Kevin Lusson (pinch-hitting for Jacob Felts) found a little magic of his own when he took the second pitch he saw into that same Kent State bullpen. Talk about bringing the crowd to life. A walk and single to put runners at the corners by pinch-hitters Lucas Kephart and Tim Maitland turned us all into believers. Alas, Tant Shepherd, representing the go-ahead run, could not pull off the miracle. He popped out to 2b. Game over. Texas lost 5-7. Heart break city. Although, there was that group of folks in yellow at the very top of section 101. There were about 20 Kent State fans up there. And, they sure were happy. Texas now needs to win 3 in-a-row in order to advance to the Super Regional round. It can be done. I hope it will be done. UPDATE: I've posted a full game report.

Elsewhere

In other (mostly Big 12-related) action around the country...

Three Big 12 teams went 2-and-out this weekend (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State). All three were beat by #4 seeds on Day 2 of Regional action. Two Big 12 teams are firmly in control of their Regionals (Texas A&M and Baylor). And, one Big 12 team is now in the position of needing to win 3 to stay alive. I so wish Texas wasn't that last team. Damn. Oh, and...you know...hook 'em, Horns!

Posted by Joanna at 7:41 AM | Permalink

Saturday - June 4, 2011

Austin Regional Tournament, Day 1

Game 1: Kent State at Texas State

It was a hot day for baseball. But, we got a good crowd in to watch the first game of the day. My guess is that we ended up with around 3,000 in the stands. Not at all bad for a Friday afternoon. Of course, it helps that San Marcos is so close to Austin. There were a lot of Texas State fans in the stands...as well as a small but vocal group of Kent State folks. There were quite a few Texas fans there as well. Anyway...

Kent State jumped to an early 1-run lead in the 2nd on a couple of singles sandwiched around a groundout that advanced the original batter to 2b. Texas State tied the game at 1-1 in the 6th with a 2-out single, a walk, and another single. The Golden Flashes (yep...really) answered with another run in the 7th (1-out double, walk, single). The Bobcats tied things up again at 2-2 in the 8th (double, ground out to advance the runner, sac fly). The game went into extra innings and in the top of the 11th, an error and wild pitch led to two runs for Kent State which Texas State was unable to match in the bottom of the inning. In the top of the 11th, David Lyon reached on a full-count walk. With pinch-hitter Jason Bagoly at the plate, the Texas State catcher (Andrew Stumph) tried to pickoff the runner at 1b. Alas, his throw sailed over the first baseman's head and went way down the rf line in foul territory. By the time the right fielder rounded it up. Lyon was standing on the 3b bag. A single to lf scored the run. Kent State sent Nick Hamilton in to pinch-run for Bagoly. Cody Koch advanced Hamilton to 2b on a sac bunt and Joe Koch grounded out to 1b (unassisted) to move him to 3b. A passed ball (on a 2-0 pitch in the dirt that got away from the catcher) scored Hamilton. It was a tough inning for the Texas State catcher. The Bobcats went down in order in the bottom of the inning to lose the game.

Texas State went with their ace, Carson Smith, and he did a good job, limiting Kent State to just 2 runs in 9 innings on 8 hits with 5 strikeouts and 1 walk. He had five 1-2-3 innings but did not get the run support he needed. The Bobcats only managed 4 hits against the Kent State starter, Kyle Hallock, who pitched 6.1 innings. They managed 1 hit against Justin Gill who threw the next 2.1 innings, and failed to get a single hit against Kyle McMillen who threw the final 2.1 innings for Kent State (although they did get two runners aboard via a walk and a hit batter). It seemed like everything they hit was right at a fielder. I felt their pain. It was very much like watching many of the games Texas played this year where they just could not get that timely hit.

So, Texas State moves on to the loser's bracket and Kent State moves to the winner's bracket. Note that Kent State gambled and saved their ace for their second game of the tournament. Hmmm...

Game 2: Princeton at Texas

Sam Stafford started for Texas and limited the Princeton Tigers to 1 run in 7 innings. Nathan Thornhill went in for the 8th and promptly gave up a single and double before he was lifted in favor of Hoby Milner. Milner gave up a single (plating the 2nd run of the day for Princeton) and a groundout (run #3). At that point Corey Knebel went in, threw 2 pitches, and got the batter to ground into a 4-6-3 double play. He allowed a lead-off single in the 9th but a couple of pop-ups and a groundout ended further threats from the Tigers. Offensively, the Horns jumped out to a 2-run lead in the 1st. Coach Garrido, apparently acting on one of those gut feelings he has, switched Tant Shepherd and Brandon Loy in the lineup. So, Shepherd hit in the #1 spot and Loy in the #3 spot. It seemed to pay off. Shepherd drew a full-count walk to start the game and moved to 2b on a sac bunt by Mark Payton. Loy drew a 5-pitch walk and they executed a double steal with Erich Weiss at the plate. Weiss grounded out to 2b, plating Shepherd and moving Loy to 3b. Loy then scored on a wild pitch. In the 5th inning (after having given up a run in the top of the inning), Jacob Felts reached on a 1-out single to lf. Shepherd then blasted a 2-run shot off the top of the wall in the Princeton bullpen to put the Horns up 4-1. The Horns went on to win 5-3 and advance to the winner's bracket. See my full game report for more details.

Elsewhere

In other (mostly Big 12-related) action around the country...

Posted by Joanna at 7:51 AM | Permalink

Game 59: Princeton at Texas (Austin Regional)

It was hot at Disch-Falk Field. But, not as hot as it had been for the afternoon game, thankfully. Texas beat Princeton 5-3. Sam Stafford got the win for Texas, moving his record to 6-2, and Corey Knebel earned his 17th save of the year. I have to say I would've liked to see the Horns win a bit more decisively but a win's a win. And, I will take this one happily.

The line:

[line]

Look at that. Princeton with one more hit than Texas. Texas did more with their hits, though. Whew.

The lineups:

Princeton  Texas
Matt Bowman (ss)
John Mishu (rf)
Mike Ford (1b)
Sam Mulroy (c)
Jonathan York (3b)
Steve Harrington (dh)
Alex Flink (2b)
Nate Baird (lf)
Tom Boggiano (cf)
Tant Shepherd (1b)
Mark Payton (rf)
Brandon Loy (ss)
Erich Weiss (lf)
Paul Montalbano (lf)
Jonathan Walsh (dh)
Cohl Walla (cf)
Jordan Etier (2b)
Jacob Felts (c)

Yep...just when we think Coach Garrido has finally settled on a lineup, he goes and makes a change on us. Apparently he had one of those gut feelings of his and he switched Shepherd and Loy. And, it paid off nicely.

Play by play:

Quotes from the post-game press conference are available on the TexasSports.com site.

So, Texas advances in the winner's bracket to face Kent State (who beat Texas State earlier in the day, while saving their ace for Texas). It should be a good game. Hook 'em, Horns!

Posted by Joanna at 7:48 AM | Permalink

Thursday - June 2, 2011

Friday starter: Sam Stafford

Coach Garrido and Sam Stafford talk about Stafford's start in Friday's game: Texas trusts Stafford to open regional (from YNN-Austin).

UPDATE. Here's KEYE's take on the same stroy.

Posted by Joanna at 12:16 AM | Permalink

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