Horns Ride Jungmann, Big Comeback to Victory

OMAHA, Neb. - The Texas Longhorns used ten consecutive runs and an outstanding relief appearance from freshman Taylor Jungmann to earn a 10-6 victory over Arizona State on Tuesday evening. Burnt Orange Beat's Jason Cole takes a look back at the game.

Statistically speaking, Tuesday's contest between Texas and Arizona State featured the nation's top two pitching staffs.

The Longhorns and Sun Devils are the only teams in NCAA Division I baseball with a sub-3.00 team earned-run average.

Both clubs also had their ace on the hill. For Texas, it was sophomore Chance Ruffin, who entered the game with a 10-2 record. ASU went with All-American Mike Leake and his sparkling 16-1 record.

The game was deemed by many to be the College World Series' most intriguing pitching matchup. Many ‘experts'—including myself—predicted a low-scoring game, citing the outstanding consistency of both hurlers.

So, naturally, both pitchers had their shortest outing of the season, as they combined to yield 12 runs in 5.1 innings.

In a game that became a battle of the bullpens, the Longhorns used an outstanding performance from Taylor Jungmann—and ten consecutive runs—to earn a 10-6 victory on Tuesday evening.

Entering the game against Leake, the Longhorns figured runs would be difficult to come by. Despite five baserunners in the first three innings, Texas wasn't able to push across any runs against the Sun Devils' ace.

While Texas was unable to get the big hit, Arizona State began teeing off against Ruffin.

The Longhorns' right-hander had no issues throwing strikes on Tuesday, but all of his stuff was up in the strike zone, leading to two home runs in two-plus innings.

ASU cleanup hitter Kole Calhoun led off the bottom of the second by belting his 11th home run of the season, giving the Sun Devils a 1-0 lead.

After three singles—plus a passed ball—from the middle of the lineup, Arizona State had a 3-0 lead through two innings.

Catcher Carlos Ramirez began the third with another solo home run, pushing the lead to four runs.

Ruffin then walked Calhoun, and freshman Johnny Ruettiger hit a seemingly routine double play ball right at Texas second baseman Travis Tucker.

But the ball went under the glove of the normally sure-handed Tucker, and all runners were safe with still nobody out.

After the error, the Longhorns coaching staff turned to reliever Austin Dicharry. The freshman right-hander issued three walks before he got out of the third inning. Though he didn't surrender a hit, Dicharry allowed two more runs to score on a sacrifice fly and a throwing error from catcher Cameron Rupp.

ASU held a 6-0 lead through three innings.

All six runs were charged to Ruffin, whose two-inning outing was the shortest start of his career.

Rupp says Ruffin just didn't have his best location.

"Chance was throwing strikes," Rupp said. "We were talking about this after the game. He could throw all of his pitches for strikes, but he left things up. I don't know what was going on, but they came out swinging the bat and they hit the ball hard. You've got to give credit to their offense."

The six-run deficit matched the Longhorns' largest of the season. Mike Leake had not allowed six runs in a start all season.

And then Augie Garrido spoke.

With his team appearing both mentally and physically shaken, Garrido gathered his team in the dugout after the bottom of the third inning.

"Whatever I tell the team doesn't really have as much value as how they respond," Garrido said. "So I don't know what [the players] remember. Sometimes they don't remember anything. And sometimes they do."

The players may or may not have remembered Garrido's speech, but they sure responded well.

Leake appeared rusty after the long layoff during the third inning, and the Texas offense immediately sprung to life.

The Longhorns began the fourth with five consecutive baserunners, including an opposite-field three-run homer off the bat of Cameron Rupp, quickly cutting the ASU lead in half.

After Travis Tucker laid down a perfect bunt single to score Preston Clark, Brandon Belt knocked a two-RBI single into right field, plating two more runs.

Texas had tied the game, scoring six runs off Leake in one inning and chasing him from the game.

Leake had pitched at least seven innings in each of his previous 15 starts. He lasted just 3 1/3 on Tuesday.

After the game, Leake still looked—and sounded—shellshocked.

"It wasn't too long of a rest," said Leake when asked why he struggled in the fourth. "I couldn't really tell you right now. I've got so much going through my mind right now. But I'll think about it and put it behind me. Right now I couldn't tell you what it was."

Garrido believes his team was getting a better look at the ASU ace the second time through the batting order.

"After the third inning I think we stopped chasing balls in the dirt," he said. "That's when some of them started getting better counts. He then elevated the ball a little bit into the strike zone.

"He was really smart about how he kept the ball out of the strike zone for as long as he did—as long as we swung at it. That was pretty cool on his part."

With a 6-6 tie, the slate was technically clean after the top of the fourth. But the momentum was completely on Texas' side, and everyone in Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium could sense it, including pitcher Taylor Jungmann.

"After coach talked to us, the guys started rallying around and Cameron's home run was a big turning point," Jungmann said. "After that, when we tied it in the fourth, we knew we had it."

Jungmann's confidence was a good thing, because Garrido and pitching coach Skip Johnson called on the freshman with two on and one out in the bottom of the fourth inning.

The right-hander got a flyout and a strikeout to end the threat, and he quickly went into cruise control.

Pitching in the most important game of his collegiate career to date—in a high-pressure situation—Jungmann thrived. He pitched 5.2 shutout innings out of the bullpen, surrendering just two hits while walking one and striking out six.

Outside of the fourth, when he came in with inherited runners on base, Jungmann gave the Sun Devils just one at-bat with a man in scoring position. Aside from a pair of late-inning warning track fly balls, which came with a four-run Texas lead, the Arizona State offense never really threatened Jungmann.

Calhoun was impressed with the performance.

"That Jungmann kid was pretty good," said the ASU cleanup hitter. "He pounded the zone and kept a lot of guys off-balance. I mean, five and two-thirds. We didn't score a run off him. That's a pretty good outing."

Although Texas held the momentum after the fourth, they didn't actually take their first lead of the game until the top of the seventh, when Cameron Rupp stepped to the plate once again.

Rupp continued to make up for his early defensive miscues by belting another opposite-field home run, this one a solo shot to lead off the inning, giving the ‘Horns a 7-6 advantage.

The Longhorns added to the lead with a run-scoring double from Kevin Keyes and a two-RBI single off Brandon Loy's bat in the top of the eighth, extending Texas' lead to 10-6.

The comeback was officially complete.

Texas finished off the longest nine-inning game in CWS history [four hours and four minutes] with ten consecutive runs and a clutch relief outing from Taylor Jungmann.

"For the team to find a way to win was nothing short of a miracle," said Garrido. "It was quite a performance and quite a testimony to the power of their will to win, their belief in each other, and their belief in themselves."

Tuesday's game two victory gives the Longhorns an extreme upper hand in their College World Series bracket. Texas doesn't play another game until Friday evening, giving the team—and pitching staff—plenty of rest. The win on Friday propels the Longhorns to the best-of-three national championship series.

The ‘Horns will play the winner of the Arizona State/North Carolina elimination game, which will be played on Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m. Central.

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