AUSTIN, Texas — Eric Kennedy hit an RBI double with two outs in the ninth to cap off a wild final inning and give the Texas Longhorns a 4-3 win over the USF Bulls in the first game of the Austin Super Regional.
Trailing 3-0 to start the ninth, USF got a leadoff homer from Daniel Cantu and a two-out double of their own from Jarrett Eaton to bring the tying run to the plate. Drew Brutcher, who had entered the game as a pinch hitter in the 7th inning, ran the count full and then hit a monster home run down the right field line to tie the game at 3.
Brad Lord retired the first two Longhorns in the bottom of the ninth, but a slow ground ball ate up shortstop Nick Gonzalez, setting up Kennedy’s heroics.
Ty Madden, making his last appearance for Texas at home, allowed just three hits, walked four, and struck out nine in 6 2⁄3 shutout innings. He did not allow a USF baserunner past second.
The Bulls’ best scoring chance off Madden was in the seventh. A Matt Ruiz single and a walk by Brutcher chased Madden and gave Gonzalez a chance to be a hero. But reliever Tanner Witt struck out Gonzalez on three pitches to end the threat.
USF ace Jack Jasiak did his best to keep pace with Madden. He lasted five innings and held the potent Texas lineup to only two runs and three hits, while striking out four. But some hard luck got the Longhorns on the board, and a critical fielding mistake helped the Longhorns get a second.
Mike Antico led off the game for Texas with a walk, then stole second. Mitchell Daly followed with a one-hopper off Jasiak’s leg for a hit. Then Zach Zubia hit a slow roller to third and Carmine Lane’s throw to second was high for an error, scoring Antico. Jasiak drew a popout, then stumbled off the mound for a balk, but recovered to limit the damage to one run.
With two outs in the second and no one on base, Kennedy hit a roller to first baseman Riley Hogan. At first it looked like Jasiak made it to the bag in time to get the speedy Kennedy at first. But after video review, they reached the bag simultaneously and Kennedy was safe. That opened the door for Antico, who drilled a double to left-center that scored Kennedy for a 2-0 lead. A double by Trey Faltine and a pair of sac flies tacked on one more run for Texas in the 7th.
USF coach Billy Mohl was not made available for comment after the game.
The Bulls now need to win the next two games to reach the College World Series in Omaha. Game 2 of the Super Regional is tomorrow at 9:00 pm Eastern time.