Horns' Omaha Hopes Survive

Staring tournament elimination in the face, Texas rode on the shoulders of a lights-out pitching performance by RHP Adrian Alaniz Sunday night to beat Mississippi 3-1 and force a deciding third game in the Oxford Super Regional. The winner of Monday's 6 p.m. contest (ESPN2) will head to Omaha for the College World Series.

After Ole Miss (48-19) put the Horns within a game of elimination earlier in the day with a 6-4 come-from-behind win, Alaniz manned the mound at Swayze Field for Texas (50-16) and earned the win in game two, giving up only one run on six hits while striking out and walking six in 6-2/3 innings of work.

"We live to play another day," Augie Garrido said post-game. "Adrian (Alaniz) set the pace with his pitching. This is the third or fourth game that it has come down to him. Every time he has delivered. He threw quality innings."

The Texas hitters started off quiet but broke their silence with a run in the third inning. After Ole Miss starter Matt Maloney retired the first eight Longhorn batters, RF Nick Peoples finally put the Horns on the board with a solo homer to left in the bottom of the third, the first long ball of his collegiate career, to give Texas a 1-0 edge after three.

In the fourth, Texas extended its lead with another run after Alaniz did his part on the mound to keep the Rebels scoreless in the top half of the frame. Carson Kainer reached base and advanced to second on a Rebel fielding error and, after a wild pitch moved Kainer to third, DH Will Crouch doubled to left to plate the Longhorn left fielder and increase Texas’ lead to two runs.

After allowing base runners in each of the first four frames, Alaniz struck out two batters and forced the third into a routine grounder in the top of the fifth. Texas, though, failed to capitalize with any runs in the home half of the inning, but struck again in the sixth with another solo home run, this time off the bat of Kainer, to go up 3-0 heading into the seventh inning.

Peoples and Kainer had the best offensive outing for the Horns, both tallying a pair of hits, including a homer apiece.

As a team, the Horns finished with nine hits.

After Alaniz forfeited three hits and a run to bring the score to 3-1 in the seventh, Texas went to the 'pen, and lefty Buck Cody closed out the inning before any more damage could be done.

Cody sat down the Rebel hitters in order in the eighth inning, and Tom Holliday handed RHP J. Brent Cox the responsibility of closing out the final inning and preserving a Texas win. Cox did just that, but not before giving a shred of hope to Ole Miss by giving up a walk and a pair of hits to load the bases with one out, the tying run a base hit away from crossing the plate. But Cox would not replicate his disastrous outing earlier in the day, instead forcing Cooper Osteen into a game-ending double play and earning his 16th save of the season.

"I had to think long and hard about putting (Cox) in," Garrido said. "He was devastated from the first game. It was risky, because if he loses it, then what. I took the risk because of his strength and character."

Maloney incurred the loss for the Rebels after surrendering seven hits and three runs while fanning seven batters in seven innings of work.

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