Texas, No. 9, falls 7-3 to Notre Dame


Texas, No. 9, falls 7-3 to Notre Dame

The 9th-seeded Texas Longhorns failed to record an extra base hit for the first time this season as the offensive struggled in a 7-3 loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the College World Series in Omaha on Friday night .

The Longhorns managed just six hits and struggled to seriously threaten the Irish, who took a 1-0 lead in the first inning and never gave it up after 11 hits, including two home runs. Pitching for Notre Dame was superior with left-hander John Michael Bertrand going 5.1 innings and conceding just six hits and three runs with eight strikeouts, and left-hander Jack Findlay going 2.1 innings without conceding a hit and two strikeouts, and dominated Texas.

The Horns will now meet the Aggies in an elimination game at 1 p.m. Central on ESPN on Sunday.

Texas is one of the favorites in the College World Series, but to have a strong shot at making the Finals, head coach David Pierce’s team must mark their time in Omaha with a win over Notre Dame Friday at Charles Schwab Field at 6 p.m open :15 p.m. Central on ESPN.

Texas sends left-hander Pete Hansen (11-2, 3.40) on the mound hoping his ace can locate his fastball on either side of the plate for a good start and save the bullpen. Notre Dame counters with veteran left-hander John Michael Bertrand (9-3, 2.67), who struggled in his last game and allowed six runs for eight hits in 4.2 innings in last Friday’s loss to Tennessee.

The winner of Friday’s game meets Oklahoma, who defeated 5th-seeded Texas A&M 13-8 in Friday’s first game. The loser meets the Aggies in an eliminator on Sunday.


First inning

Notre Dame came first on the board. Because Hansen was working at the top end of his speed range with his fastball, he exited a 3-1 pitch up and right to center of the plate. Struggling Irish second baseman Jared Miller took advantage, propelling him just over the wall in right field for a 1-0 lead.

Hansen pulled back the next two batters to get out of the inning.

Texas went down to Bertrand in first order when center fielder Douglas Hodo III slammed with a high fastball, left fielder Eric Kennedy landed at first base, and first baseman Ivan Melendez landed in third.

Second inning

Hansen gave up a hard-hitting leadoff single just past shortstop Trey Faltine in the hole, but knocked out the next batter with a wicked 1-2 breaking ball. After falling 2-1 behind shortstop Zach Prajzner, Hansen gave up a single to put the runners in first and second with an out. Another strikeout and a shortstop groundout got Hansen out of the second.

The Longhorns also struggled to get things going against Bertrand in the second fight as second baseman Murphy Stehly flew into midfield and designated hitter Austin Todd landed in second. Third baseman Skyler Messinger put a ball in the hole in second and the Notre Dame second baseman made a nice play to initially close it off. After Messinger was initially ruled out, the replay lifted the call, but the Longhorns were unable to take advantage with catcher Silas Ardoin grounded to shortstop.

Third inning

Hansen was quickly in trouble again in the third inning, hitting the first batter, allowing his first stolen base of the season when Ardoin couldn’t handle the exchange behind the plate, and then setting the runners up for first and third with a single through the Left side of the infield. Notre Dame then narrowly missed a home run from opposing field first baseman Carter Putz, who eventually made a fielder’s decision to make it 2-0 for Fighting Irish. Two more strikes helped Hansen avoid further damage.

Right fielder Dylan Campbell narrowly missed a home run of his own to lead from the end of the third before going for a walk. In another strong at-bat, Faltine made a full count before hitting a single to center field that moved Campbell to third, leading to a hilltop visit from Notre Dame. Unable to bring Campbell home, Hodo batted on three pitches, but Kennedy did with a sacrificial bunt that led to an out at second base. Melendez kept the inning going with a single to center that put Kennedy in third place, but Stehly struck to strand both runners.

Fourth inning

Once again, Hansen quickly pressured and gave up an infield single to lead the batter, but worked up the count against Prajzner before popping down Faltine by pounding a fastball in his hands. Another single put the runners in first and third place with an out. As Notre Dame tried to hit the third runner with a bunt, Hansen made a spectacular play, quickly climbing off the mound, grabbing the ball with his bare hands and throwing it to Ardoin to put the play on the plate. At least initially – the call was overturned upon verification. A flyball into deep right field was deep enough for the runner to attempt to advance. Originally ruled safe, Texas challenged the call and it appeared the runner’s foot was out of his pocket when Messinger applied the tag, but verification was unsuccessful. Hansen loaded the bases on a spike pitch that hit the batter and put the Texas pitcher in the game’s most dangerous position, but a line drive to Stehly at second base marked hard-earned third place with the 3-1 lead Irish.

It took Bertrand just four pitches to secure two bottom-inning groundouts and three more to pop Ardoin into short right field.

Fifth inning

Hansen was able to win a long at bat to open the inning with a strikeout, then gave up two singles, the seventh and eighth hits for Notre Dame in the game as his pitch count crept into the 80s . A third single, this time down the middle, scored another run for the Fighting Irish as Hansen fought a tight hitting zone, ending the evening for the Texan ace. Right-hander Tristan Stevens came into play and was called for a suspension when he faked a throw for third, resulting in a run Notre Dame made before he even threw a pitch. A single on a 1-2 pitch from Stevens extended the lead to 6-1 with two outs before a caught steal ended the frame and put pressure on the Longhorns offense to finally show some life.

Once again, it was Campbell who made for some, singling up middle to lead the inning, but Faltine struck before a powerful punch from Hodo led to a single to left field to hit Campbell and open the deficit 6: 2 to reduce. However, Texas failed to mount a sustained rally as Kennedy emerged in bad territory and ran into Melendez in a fielder choice.

Sixth inning

Stevens recorded the first out on a groundout to first base before going the next hitter on a 10 pitch-on-at-bat and then recovering with a 5-4-3 double play.

Stehly singled to left field to base a leadoff runner for the Longhorns in the sixth, only the third hit of 1-to-5 batters for Texas in 13 At Bats, and advanced on a wild pitch to second place. After Todd took Stehly to third, Notre Dame made its first call in the bullpen, removing Bertrand in favor of right-hander Alex Rao. With a 2-0 lead over Messinger, Rao sent a high fastball to the backstop, allowing Stehly to score. With a high ’90s fastball and a devastating switch, Rao was able to smash out Messinger and Ardoin to take down the Longhorns.

Seventh inning

Stevens seemed to continue to settle in, quickly recording outs with a flyball into midfield and two strikeouts to get through the seventh with ease.

Texas hit the ball hard twice to open the seventh, but both went straight to Notre Dame third baseman, who fended off Campbell and Faltine. A four-pitch walk drawn by Hodo resulted in a bullpen call from the Irish, who chose left-hander Jack Findlay to run against Kennedy. Findlay worked his fastball inside and out, swinging Kennedy.

Eighth inning

Stevens maintained his rhythm with two flyouts and a groundout for another easy inning, putting Melendez on the plate against Findlay, who continued his sensational pitching run by hitting Melendez and narrowly missing a home run by Stehly on a towering fly ball past the Texas second baseman.

Ninth inning

With two outs in the ninth game, Stevens gave up a home run as Notre Dame extended the lead to 7-3 before Stevens retired the team. The Longhorns failed to reach Findlay in the ninth as the Fighting Irish relief hauled Texas in order.

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