After a shock loss in Game 1 of the Greenville super regional, the Texas Longhorns steadied themselves in Game 2 before closing the door on East Carolina in Game 3 to punch their ticket to Omaha.
In an evening marked by lighting showers in Greenville, the deciding game of the series saw the opening pitch delayed by an hour before getting just one out of the first inning played when another display of lightning led to officials sending both teams into the locker room. In that time, Ivan Melendez opened up with a three-run blast to left and the Longhorns tacked on another to head in with a 4-0 lead.
After a weather delay that ended up being nearly five hours long, the Pirates wasted no time getting back into the game, quickly retiring two Longhorns and then putting their bats to work, clawing back one run.
As it turned out, that would be East Carolina’s only run of the day, though, as Texas continued their onslaught, scoring five in the second inning. The Pirates were forced to empty their bullpen, with delays cooling arms and all of the marbles to play for, they had used five pitchers by the fourth inning.
Much of Texas’ success is owed to the young man on the mound, Tristan Stevens. He worked through six excellent innings, giving up five hits, three walks, and only one run. The sixth-year senior threw 101 pitches and notched up five Ks.
This was only East Carolina’s second ever trip to the super regionals, a hurdle that they have yet to clear, but in their opening salvo against the Longhorns, Cliff Godwin’s boys have shown that they are capable of playing with the big programs, and you can fully expect them to return.
Godwin is reported to be in the frame for the head coaching job at Florida State, and the run that the Pirates have had this season will only strengthen that claim.
Texas will now face Notre Dame on Friday and they should be under no illusions about their opponents after the way that the Irish dismantled Tennessee in the super regionals. This will be a hard-fought slog for the Longhorns, and that seems to suit these Texans down to the ground.
source: AS English