Baseball: Horns win with three-inning explosion

After being held scoreless over the first five innings, the No. 15 Texas Longhorns (11-2) drove in 17 runs between the sixth and eighth innings and used another solid starting pitching effort from junior Alan Bomer (Altoona, Iowa/Southeast Polk/Iowa State) en route to posting their eighth win in a row with a 17-3 victory over Loyola Marymount (4-7) in front of a season-high 4,204 fans at Disch-Falk Field on Saturday, Feb. 23.

Loyola Marymount starter Joshua Muecke worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the bottom of the second to keep the game scoreless before the Lions grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third as shortstop Billy Lockin reached on a two-out base hit, stole second and came home on a RBI-single from Jonathan Hagashi. The score remained 1-0 in favor of LMU until the bottom of the sixth when freshman J.D. Reininger (Spring Branch, Texas/Smithson Valley) connected on his third home run of the year to left-center field with runners on first and second to give the Horns a 3-1 advantage. Texas then added two more runs with two down in the sixth to push the lead to 5-1 following a walk and a hit batter as Kalani Napoleon (Aurora, Colo./Rangeview/New Mexico JC) extended his hit streak to seven games with a two-RBI double that dropped just inside the left-field line. LMU would answer with a run in the seventh when Tommy Perez, who led off the inning with a triple to center field, came home on a groundout, but UT immediately answered in the bottom of the frame with RBI-doubles from Reininger and Napoleon as well as a RBI-base hit from Jeff Ontiveros (Round Rock, Texas/Round Rock) to gain an 8-2 lead heading into the final two innings.

The Lions would tack on another run with two outs in the eighth off a RBI-single from Kris Zacuto and then proceed to load the bases before Brantley Jordan (Austin, Texas/McNeil/Texarkana JC) came on to record the final out of the inning and preserve the 8-3 advantage. Senior Chris Carmichael (Decatur, Ga./Ronald E. McNair/Howard) then led off the bottom of the eighth with a pinch-hit solo home run to spark a nine-run frame for the Horns, which also included a two-run home run by Ryan Hubele (Paradise Valley, Ariz./Chaparral), to close out UT‚s 17-3 victory.

The late Texas rally was powered by a season-high 17 RBI, including four from Reininger, who collected a trio of hits for the second game in a row, and three from both Napoleon and Carmichael, who set a career game-high for RBI. Other notable performances were turned in by Hubele, who went 3-for-5 with four runs scored and two RBI, and sophomore Tim Moss (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster) who extended his hitting streak to a team-best 10 games by posting yet another multi-hit outing on a 3-for-5 afternoon. Offensively for the Lions, the trio of Lockin, Higashi and Perez each collected two hits apiece. On the mound, Bomer struck out four and spread eight hits over his seven and two-thirds innings of work to earn his third win in as many tries, while Muecke pitched five innings of shutout baseball for LMU before allowing five runs in the sixth and shouldering the loss. In closing for Texas, Jordan‚s relief effort earned him a save after he entered the game with the tying run on-deck in the eighth inning.

The Longhorns and Lions wrap up their three-game set at Disch-Falk Field tomorrow, Sunday, Feb. 24, at 1 p.m.

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