The Longhorns made it interesting, but eventually left the Brown Bears in the dust in Texas' first game of the NCAA Regional series. The Horns struggled early to get their offense going, but finished the game with a 8-2 victory. Texas was rescued by the relief pitching of Joesph Krebs and Randy Boone who combined to go 5 inning, give up 4 hits, no runs, while striking out a combined 12 batters.
James Russell got the start for Texas, but struggled early as the Brown Bears were able to touch him up for 7 hits and 2 earned runs in only 4 innings of work. This was a disappointing start for Russell, who had struggled to get batters out in his last appearance. Augie Garrido and the Texas staff was hoping to get a good, long outing from Russell so they could preserve the relief pitching for tonight's all important match-up against UC-Irvine, who destroyed Wake Forest 13-0 earlier on Friday. As is, the bullpen was required to pitch 5 innings, leaving Krebs' and Boone's availability for tonight in question.
As shaky as Russell's start was, he did not receive much help from the Longhorn offense early in this game. Texas was able to put a runner across in the 1st inning as Kyle Russell blasted his 28th homerun of the year off Brown starter Jeff Dietz. After that, however, the Longhorn's ability to plate runners disappeared until the 6th inning. Texas left two runners on the 2nd, left a runner on second in the 3rd, Nick Peoples was thrown out stealing second in the 4th, and left two on base in the 5th. Texas' clutch hitting early on was characteristically absent.
The Longhorns broke things open the the 6th inning, though. Chase Fuller hit a 2 run homerun, his second of the year, to put Texas up for good 3-2. Russell Moldenhauer plated Chance Wheeless with a double in the 7th and then the game was broken open in the 8th as Texas put four runs across to go up 8-2. Texas was lead at the plate by Travis Tucker who went 4-4 and scored and run and Nick Peoples who went 3-5 on the night.
Despite giving up 5 runs on 14 hits, Brown starter Jeff Dietz gave the Longhorns all they could handle. Dietz finished the night, going 7.0 innings and logging 131 pitches. Texas was stymied by his change of speeds and multiple arm angles for much of the night. But once Texas was able to break through with timely hitting, Dietz hit the showers, but not without a standing ovation from the sellout crowd at Dell Diamond.
Although collecting 11 hits, the Brown offense was held in check most of the night with a majority of the base traffic coming off Russell in the first few innings. Brown was able to get on the scoreboard and take the lead, scoring two runs in the 4th inning off of Russell. Matt Nuzzo, Ryan Murphy and Robert Papenhause each collected 2 hits with Papenhause collecting 1 RBI.
Texas moves on to face UC-Irvine in tonight's winner's bracket matchup, as Brown looks to stave off an early exit in the first elimination game against Wake Forest, Saturday morning. Texas will play at 6pm as Adrian Alaniz will take the mound against the Anteater's Scott Gorgen.