Horns Slaughter Hogs; Title Game Monday

SS Seth Johnston snapped an 0-for-11 streak at the plate and did so in true Johnston fashion, driving in six runs off of three hits to lead Texas to a 19-8 win over Arkansas on Sunday evening to force a final game Monday at 1 p.m. to crown the Austin Regional Champion.

Johnston was not the only Texas hitter who came out with a booming bat, however, as all but two Longhorn hitters finished the contest with multiple hits, which proved to be the difference maker in allowing Texas to continue its fight for a berth in Oxford (vs. Ole Miss in the Super Regional), and then Omaha.

The Texas hitting proved to be a nightmare for the Razorbacks, who resorted to a sort of "pitching by committee," featuring five different hurlers after SP Shaun Seibert lasted only 1-2/3 innings, giving up five runs off four hits. The Horns collected a season-high 21 hits on the day.

"The whole season is on the line here, and the team responded very well today," head coach Augie Garrido said. "Tomorrow will be a separate identity all together. It will be exciting to see what unfolds."

The Texas offense started the scoring off right away, knocking in one run in the opening frame when 1B Chance Wheeless singled to right to score RF Nick Peoples, who had reached base on a walk to start the ballgame.

Like the Texas hitters, RHP Randy Boone started his day off on the right foot, striking out two batters and keeping the Razorbacks scoreless in the first inning.

The Horn hitters came out swinging in the next inning and broke the game open. C Taylor Teagarden smacked a double to left and 3B David Maroul followed with a single. After the Hogs gunned down Teagarden attempting to score off Maroul's hit, 2B Robby Hudson drove a shot up the middle and reached first base safely, pushing Maroul to third. Peoples then walked to load the bases for CF Drew Stubbs. A Stubbs' walk brought in a run and forced Arkansas to turn to the bullpen.

Johnston came to the plate next and proved to the Hogs that it would take more than just a new pitcher to quiet down the Texas hitters, when his triple to right-center scored all three base runners. Johnston's hit snapped a recent slump that started after the Quinnipiac game on Friday.

"Before that at-bat, Coach Garrido came up to me and said to go back to my two-strike approach and just put the bat on the ball," Johnston said. "Sure enough, whenever I tried to shorten up and put the bat on the ball, their pitcher threw a good pitch on the outer half, and I was able to hit it in the right spot."

Wheeless followed with a double that scored Johnston, and LF Carson Kainer singled to drive home Wheeless and cap off Texas' six-run second inning scoring barrage.

Boone forfeited a double and a sac fly in the bottom half of the inning to bring the score to 7-1 after two.

In the third inning, Texas continued to light the new Disch-Falk scoreboard when Teagarden crushed a solo homer to left, his second in as many games. After Hudson reached with a single, Stubbs brought home the base runner later in the inning with a double up the middle, extending Texas' lead to 9-1. Boone held up his end of the bargain in the same inning, keeping the Hogs silent in the third.

Arkansas made some progress in the fourth, scoring another run off a sac fly to reduce the lead to seven runs after the Horns went scoreless in the top half of the frame.

Texas again failed to score in the fifth, and the Razorbacks took advantage by scoring two runs off a homer and a double to chip away at the Texas lead and enter the sixth trailing the Horns 9-4.

After a quiet two innings, the Texas bats blasted in another four runs in the sixth. After Stubbs singled to right and stole second, Johnston followed with a single that scored Stubbs. Crouch then singled, driving in Johnston. Teagarden kept the rally going with a double that brought home Kainer, who had reached base on a walk.

The Razorbacks responded by calling on their fifth pitcher of the night, but like the arms before him, Arkansas' Devin Collis struggled. As the first batter Collis faced, Maroul knocked a single and racked up an RBI when Crouch scored on the hit. The Texas hitters went back to the dugout with a comfortable 13-4 lead after sixth and a half innings.

In the bottom half of the inning, Boone got the first two batters but then yielded three singles that gave the Razorbacks a one-run sixth inning that reduced Texas' lead to 13-5.

Texas tallied two more runs in the seven after an Arkansas' throwing error scored Peoples and Stubbs reached home on a Johnston grounder.

Arkansas answered right back with two runs of its own in the seventh after Boone gave up a pair of walks, prompting the Texas coaching staff to bring in LHP Jordon Street. Boone finished the day throwing 6-1/3 innings, giving up seven runs off nine hits with six strikeouts.

Street walked the only batter he faced, giving way to RHP Clayton Stewart, who surrendered a hit and a sac fly to give Arkansas two runs in the seventh to bring the score to 15-7.

The eighth inning proved to be another big one for the Texas offense. Hudson brought in the first run of the inning when a single to left scored Crouch, who had reached on a single. Peoples also slashed a single that drove in Maroul. Stubbs then reached on a fielder's choice, and a throwing error let Hudson come home. Johnston tallied his third hit of the day and racked up his sixth RBI on a double that scored Stubbs.

Teagarden proved to be the other major offensive weapon alongside Johnston, finishing the day with four hits, two of which came just inches away from clearing the outfield wall.

A Texas fielding error and an Arkansas grounder paved way for a one-run eighth inning for the Hogs, bringing the score to 19-8 after eight.

Texas failed to extend the lead in the ninth but it proved a moot point, as Clayton struck out two batters and forced the other into a grounder to close out the last inning and finalize Texas' 19-8 victory.

With the win, Texas (48-15) lives to play another day, facing Arkansas (39-21) again on Monday afternoon at 1 p.m. at the Disch in a winner-take-all contest.

"Considering the number of innings we have played and one-game mismatch between the two teams [Arkansas having played one game less than Texas], I think we are going to have to ask someone to step up and be a hero," Garrido said of Monday's regional finale. "Whoever is feeling the best [between Freshman RHP Kenn Kasparek and Sophomore RHP Kyle McCulloch] will most likely start. We will probably see [Junior RHP] J. Brent Cox come into the game earlier. The strategy was to try to keep him out of the game today."

Arkansas is expected to pitch its Game One pitcher Charley Boyce. Boyce earned the win in the Pigs' Regional-opening win over Miami (Ohio).


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