June 2, 2008
Russell's homer helps Texas top
By Allen Brown
HOUSTON - In Game 5 of the Houston Regional at
Reckling Park, UT’s Kyle Russell hit his third home run of the
regional with a man on base in the seventh to give Texas a 4-1
lead and the Texas Longhorns (39-21) were able to survive a
furious St. John’s two-out rally in the ninth to advance to the
Regional Championship and eliminate the Red Storm (42-16) by the
score of 4-3.
Russell’s home run came on a 2-2 pitch with two outs in the
seventh. The colossal blast high off of the scoreboard in right
field gave the Horns the breathing room they would need to
“The game came down to a pitch outside of the
strike zone,” said Texas head coach Augie Garrido. “(He) got the
ball up on a changeup where (Russell) could get the barrel on it
and hit it out of the ballpark.”
St. John’s lefty Matt Tosoni gave the Red Storm an outstanding
start and St. John’s lead 1-0 going into the sixth. However, in
the sixth with one out, Brandon Belt’s RBI double into the right
field corner followed by Preston Clark’s RBI single gave the
Horns a 2-1 lead and spelled the end of the day for Tosoni.
Austin Wood (7-3) started for the Longhorns and pitched
brilliantly. He went 8.2 innings, allowing eight hits and one
walk. He also benefited from three crucial double plays,
including one in the seventh and one in the eighth innings,
turned by the Texas defense, which played well.
“We made some really good defensive plays,”
Garrido said. “Our defense saved the game for us. Our defense
has come a long way this season.”
“It makes it a lot easier to pitch when the
defense is playing well,” Wood said.
The Longhorns sent Wood out to the mound in the bottom of the
ninth with a 4-1 lead, hoping he could pitch a complete game and
save all of their available arms for the next game. It appeared
that Wood would complete the game after a sensational play on
Brian Kemp’s hard hit grounder by UT third baseman Preston Clark
for the second out.
“Now looking back on how the inning finished, (that play) was a
huge difference maker,” Garrido said.
With two outs and no one on base, both Chris Anninos and Greg
Hopkins hit bouncers through the infield for singles and then
Wood hit Tim Morris with a pitch to load the bases. Greg Del
Rosario then flared a double down the right field line to make
the game 4-3 and end the night for Wood.
UT’s Saturday starter, Chance Ruffin, then entered the game and
after an intentional walk to load the bases, coaxed a ground
ball to shortstop Gino Matias to end the game.
During his final at-bat, UT’s slugging left fielder Russell
Moldenhauer suffered an injury to the patella in his knee which
Coach Garrido indicated would keep him out of the rest of the