Heartbreaking Defeat

OMAHA, Neb. - - Some might say that the Longhorns, who didn't even make the Big 12 Tournament a season ago, were playing with house money in this College World Series.

If so, the house, as it normally does, ended with the upper hand late Saturday night.

Vanderbilt's nine-hole hitter Tyler Campbell hit a bases loaded dribbler that Texas shortstop C.J. Hinojosa wasn't quite able to relay to first base in time for what would have been the third out. That allowed Rhett Wiseman to sprint home for the game-winning run in the 10th inning at T.D. Ameritrade Park.

Final score: Vanderbilt 4, Texas 3.

Replay showed that Campbell did beat the throw but that didn't ease the feeling of devastation in the Longhorns dugout. No one headed back to the clubhouse for at least 10 minutes after the game.

"I have absolutely no negative comments about any types of plays, batting or pitching or fielding or why it all happened," Texas coach Augie Garrido said. "They got one more run than us and get to move on because of it."

Vanderbilt, meanwhile, couldn't have been happier as it moves on to face Virginia in the best-of-three championship series beginning on Monday at 7 p.m.

Texas looked like it would have a great chance at taking the lead in the 10th when Hinojosa tagged a ball to the right-center field gap. But Wiseman made one of the best catches you will ever see sliding right at the warning track.

It was so good that Hinojosa even took his hat off and waved it at Wiseman.

Wiseman then singled with two outs in the 11th to keep Vanderbilt alive. Ro Coleman, who is listed at 5-foot-5, pinch hit and walked. Then John Curtiss plunked Karl Ellison, who was 0-for-4 in the game, with the first pitch he saw to load the bases.

That brought Campbell to the plate, who collected his first hit in five appearances on the day.

Texas ended its season 46-21.

"This is the best team since 2005 at the University of Texas in my opinion," Garrido said.

The Longhorns asked a lot of their bullpen due to starter Parker French's struggles in his two innings of work, and got as much as they could have asked for. Morgan Cooper spelled French at the beginning of the third and gave up 2 runs (1 earned) and struck out five in 4 2/3 innings. Travis Duke only gave up one hit in 1 2/3 innings.

Curtis was a little less dominant than he had been all season, but still very effective in his outing. He had given up just one hit in 1 1/3 innings pitched prior to Campbell. His command got the best of him on his last outing of the season.

One of the keys for Nathan Thornhill on Friday was his ability to keep Vanderbilt's first two hitters off the bases. Dansby Swanson and Bryan Reynolds, who both entered yesterday's game with a .341 average, went a combined 1-for-8 with two strikeouts on Friday.

Well French started off similarly by getting Swanson to groundout to begin the game, but he gave up a single to Reynolds to get the Commodores rolling in their first at-bat.

Vince Conde followed with a single up the middle and then Zander Wiel walked on a full count to load the bases.

Texas third baseman Zane Gurwitz saved a run with a diving stop of John Norwood's scorching liner down the line, which he corralled and then touched third for the force out. But a runner did score, which snapped Texas' scoreless innings streak in the CWS at 19.

Somehow, even after French walked the next batter on four pitches, Texas was able to get out of the inning only a run down. But they squandered chances to tie the game over the next two innings by getting its leadoff runner on and advancing him to second with one out.

Vanderbilt, meanwhile, took advantage of two errors by the usually sure-handed Longhorns defense in the third to take a two-run lead.

The latter came with two outs and a double steal with runners at first and second when Texas catcher Tres Barrera airmailed a throw intended for third into left field. That allowed Conde, who reached on a Gurwitz fielding error, to trot home.

Texas had committed only three errors in the first four games in Omaha but had three through three innings on Saturday.

While the Longhorns weren't able to get a run across early on, they did find some success against Vanderbilt ace Carson Fulmer, who entered with a 7-1 record, a 1.88 ERA, an opponent's average of .194, and 87 strikeouts in 81.1 innings.

They took that confidence and turned it into a two-run fourth thanks to three hits, including a two-run single by a rather unusual suspect.

Hinojosa got things going with a double to left field and then Collin Shaw moved him to third with an infield single. After Ben Johnson walked to load the bases and Barrera struck out (he was 1-for-16 with eight strikeouts after that at-bat), Kacy Clemens walked to the plate with a .211 average and not much to show for this postseason.

He changed all of that with a two-run single up the middle that tied the game.

As elated as Texas was in that moment it still had an opportunity to take the lead in the inning with runners at second and third. Brooks Marlow, though, flied out to left to end the threat.

UT had another golden opportunity to take the lead in the fifth with the bases loaded and one out. But Johnson hit into a double play on the first pitch he saw from Commodores reliever Hayden Stone.

Vanderbilt carried that momentum with them into its half of the fifth and retook the lead on a near three-run home run from Wiseman, who narrowly missed hitting it into the right field bullpen. Instead he settled for an RBI double and a 3-2 lead.

Texas came right back to tie the game in the sixth on a Gurwitz RBI single to left that brought Barrera in from third. Texas' catcher broke out of his slump in a big way with a leadoff triple to straightaway center.

It was all about each team's bullpen from that point forward, and in ways that Curtis would have preferred it not be at game's end.

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