Not So Fast

OMAHA, Neb. --- Texas could have been deflated after Monday night's loss, when the team recorded five solo home runs off LSU starter Louis Coleman only to drop a one-run decision in extra innings. Yet, with their backs against the wall, the Longhorns responded.

Auggie Garrido’s club put runners across the plate in each of the first three frames, early evidence that his Longhorns were not about to roll over and die after the heartbreak of the previous night.

Austin Ross, who earned his first start since May 29, lasted just two innings and allowed two runs on four hits.

When LSU looked to patch the leak with Ryan Byrd, things became even stickier. The senior allowed a home run and a pair of doubles in just two-thirds an inning of work.

The Tigers, just three innings into a game that was delayed an hour and a half due to weather, were behind by four runs – a lead that Texas held until the game’s final out.

“There was the rain, and it played an important part,” Garrido said. “It took the temperature down, and it helped Taylor [Jungmann] finish the game.”

The right-hander, who entered the game with a 10-3 record and 2.21 ERA, fired nine innings of four-hit, no earned run ball for the win.

“I was staying back, and I had a good feel for the ball,” Jungmann said. “I felt like I mixed the pitches well.”

The lone score the Tigers brought across the plate, which came by way of Jared Mitchell in the second, was courtesy of a fielding error by Texas shortstop Brandon Loy.

A tribute to Jungmann’s dominance to the mound, the heart of the Tiger order was brushed aside without hesitation - as the one through five hitters were 4-of-19 with no runs.

“[Jungmann] was outstanding,” said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. “He had good velocity and a good slider … he had a lot to do with us sticking around another day.”

Michael Torres got the ball rolling in the first with a lead off walk on four straight pitches. A failed backdoor pickoff attempt by LSU catcher Micah Gibbs moved Torres to second before a sacrifice bunt moved him to third.

Brandon Belt’s single scored the runner, giving the Longhorns the 1-0 lead with just one out down in the first. Ross got out of the eventual jam to strand a pair of runners, but the pressure only continued.

“The start was terrible, to walk the first batter on four pitches, then they were going to sacrifice and the next pitch was not even close,” Mainieri said. “With the throwing error on Gibbs, they scored right away.”

Two batters into the following frame, Preston Clark homered a 1-0 pitch to left center – his third of the season. Russell Moldenhauer followed suit with a solo shot of his own in the third.

The junior, who had been sidelined for much of the season due to injury, has recorded all four of his home runs on the year during the Longhorns’ stretch in Omaha.

With the loss in their rearview, Mainieri and Co. are fully aware of what is at stake in Wednesday’s final game of the NCAA season.

“We have a chance to win a National Championship … and we have our Friday night starter on the mound,” Mainieri said. “If I would have told the guys that back in August, they would have all taken it.

“Whoever wins that game [Wednesday] is going to earn it.”

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