June 14, 2009

Game 4 Notes

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Cruel Ending Carries Texas past Southern Miss

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

OMAHA, Neb. – I don’t like the term “walk-off”. I dislike even more the term “walk-off walk”.


Brandon Loy drew a bases-loaded walk on four pitches with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to give Texas a 7-6 victory over Southern Miss in the final opening-round game of the College World Series in front of 24,142 fans at Rosenblatt Stadium.


The top-seeded Longhorns (47-14-1) will play fifth-seeded Arizona State on Tuesday at 6 p.m. CT. The Golden Eagles (40-25) will face fourth-seeded North Carolina in an elimination game on Tuesday at 1 p.m.


With one out in the ninth, Travis Tucker was hit by a pitch from Josh Fields (2-1) and Brandon Belt drew a walk. Jonathan Johnston came in and struck out Tant Shepherd, but walked Kyle Lusson, hitting .174, on five pitches and issued a four-pitch walk to Loy to bring home Tucker with the game-winner.


Southern Miss had tied the game in the top of the ninth as Tyler Koelling had a leadoff pinch-hit single, was sacrificed to second and came home on a two-out base hit by James Ewing.


The Golden Eagles had taken a 5-4 lead with three in the top of the eighth before a pair of bases-loaded walks in the bottom of the frame gave the Longhorns a 6-5 advantage.


“I’m going to start with the performance of the Golden Eagles,” Texas head coach Augie Garrido said. “The ending is not befitting the performance. Baseball is a cruel game. It’s a brutal game. It’s about one position to break down. It misrepresents the spirit of the team, the way that team’s been coached, the talent of the team, the effort the players made. It’s just the way baseball treats people sometimes. It was a helluva baseball game. It was a really tough way for it to end.”


Kevin Keyes roped a two-out two-run double in the bottom of the first to start the scoring for the Longhorns.


After a leadoff walk to Joey Archer in the fifth, Michael Ewing of Southern Miss tied it with a dinger to right center, his fifth. Russell Moldenhauer, who entered the game hitting .234, went deep for the first time in the sixth to give the lead back to Texas.


“I believe I’ve hit the ball well all year,” Moldenhauer said. “Obviously my average and power numbers don’t show it. Coach Garrido believes in me. Hitting that home run was great. I’m glad it could come in the College World Series.”


The Longhorns added an insurance run in the seventh as Brandon Loy had a leadoff single, was sacrificed to second and scored on a two-out base hit by Connor Rowe to make it 4-2.


Taylor Jungmann (9-3) got the final two outs in the ninth to earn the win for Texas. Starter Cole Green went seven innings with six hits, three earned runs, one walk and eight strikeouts for the Longhorns.


Todd McInnis went 6.2 innings for Southern Miss with six hits, four earned runs, three walks and four strikeouts. The Golden Eagles used four relievers.


“I thought our team played extremely hard,” Southern Miss head coach Corky Palmer said, “had an opportunity to win, kept coming back. We just didn’t throw strikes at the end of the game. It’s a tough way to lose. I thought we handled everything well. We had every opportunity to win. We didn’t get it done.”


Moldenhauer had two hits and two runs for Texas. Michael Ewing had two hits and two RBI for Southern Miss.