Photo: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Omaha, NE -- #9 Texas Baseball drew Notre Dame in the opener for both schools after the Fighting Irish shockingly defeated #1 Tennessee in Knoxville. Led by head coach Link Jarrett, the Irish gave Pete Hansen and the Longhorns everything they could handle. Notre Dame's starting pitcher, John Michael Bertrand, pitched with conviction and led the Fighting Irish to a victory.
Pete Hansen had a shaky start to his postseason in a loss to East Carolina. His struggles unfortunately persisted against the active bats of the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame claimed a first inning lead when Jared Miller skipped a solo homer off the right field wall. The Texas fielders were then put into a tough position in the second with two on and no outs. A grounder to Messinger allowed a runner to score while Messinger took the out at second base.
Texas finally got on the board in the third with a sacrifice bunt from Eric Kennedy that brought in Dylan Campbell. The 'Horns bats struggled against the pitching of the Irish, registering only six hits on the evening.
Notre Dame answered with a controversial overturned call at home that allowed them to take a 3-1 lead. Pete Hansen was pulled in the fifth after two singles and an RBI single to extend the Fighting Irish lead. Tristan Stevens entered in relief and was immediately called for a balk that walked in another Irish run. Notre Dame finished the inning with an RBI single to right field that gave them a 6-1 lead.
The Longhorns began chipping away in the fifth and sixth innings. Dylan Campbell smacked a single up the middle followed by a stolen base. Douglas Hodo III then drove him home with an RBI single to left. Murphy Stehly contributed with a single to left field, advanced to second on a wild pitch and eventually to third on a groundout. Another wild pitch allowed him to score to bring the game to within three runs.
Tristan Stevens pitched beautifully in relief until an insurance home run from Notre Dame in the ninth effectively ended the game and solidified a 7-3 victory for the Fighting Irish.
Texas will have to win back to back games to climb out of the losers bracket. First they have a date with rival Texas A&M on Sunday, June 19th at 1 P.M. and if they win they will face the loser of Oklahoma and Notre Dame.