Fletcher-led Arkansas wins again, downs Texas Tech, 7-2

Riding Dominic Fletcher’s four hits and four RBI, the Arkansas Razorbacks built a five-run lead and then withstood a ninth-inning rally, turning back the Texas Tech Red Raiders 7-4 Wednesday to remain undefeated at the College World Series.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Red Raiders scored twice off reliever Matt Cronin on Cody Farhat’s two-run single.

But Cronin retired three straight batters, helping the No. 5-seeded Hogs improve to 2-0 in the tournament. Ninth-seeded Texas Tech fell to 1-1 and dropped into an elimination game against Florida.

The Red Raiders are scheduled to play the top-seeded Gators Thursday night. The winner would advance to meet the Razorbacks Friday in the Bracket 2 finals.

Arkansas is now one victory away from a berth in the CWS title round.

The Razorbacks have put themselves into a commanding position by beating Texas and Texas Tech, two former rivals from the old Southwest Conference that now play in the Big 12.

How it happened

Dominic Fletcher and Carson Shaddy delivered back-to-back RBI singles in the top of the eighth, helping Arkansas open a 7-2 lead on Texas Tech.

Fletcher, who swings a quick bat from the left side, improved his already prolific day at the plate to 4-for-4, with 4 RBI.

In two games at the College World Series, the 5-foot-9 sophomore from Cypress, California, is now 6 for 9 with 6 RBI.

Meanwhile, Arkansas relief pitcher Barrett Loseke has cooled off the Texas Tech offense.

He has struck out five in three scoreless innings.

But, at this point, Arkansas is going deeper into the bullpen, bringing in lefty Matt Cronin with a runner on first in the bottom of the eighth.

Cronin retired the side, allowing the Hogs to take a comfortable five-run lead into the ninth.

Brian Klein’s two-run double in the fifth inning has given new life to the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

The Red Raiders pulled to within 5-2 of the Arkansas Razorbacks when Klein pulled a ball into the right field corner, scoring Michael Davis and Cody Farhat.

Davis reached base when he beat a throw to first base from the catcher, who couldn’t handle a third strike. Later, Farhat walked, setting the table for Klein to hit a drive off Arkansas starter Kayce Murphy.

Barrett Loseke replaced Murphy and retired Josh Jung, Texas Tech’s leading hitter, who grounded out.

In the sixth, Texas Tech continued to build some momentum behind relief pitcher Jose Quezada, who gave up a hit but let his defense do the work on an inning-ending double play.

Dominic Fletcher pounded a solo homer to right to highlight a two-run fourth inning for Arkansas.

Meanwhile, pitcher Kacey Murphy continued to dominate Texas Tech hitters.

As a result, the Razorbacks took a 5-0 lead on the Red Raiders into the fifth Wednesday at the College World Series.

Fletcher and Murphy have emerged as the dominant players so far in a winners’ bracket game between the two former rivals in the old Southwest Conference, both 1-0 in the double-elimination tournament.

Fletcher, a sophomore from California, has produced two hits and three RBI. Murphy is working on a one-hit shutout with five strikeouts.

Arkansas is now representing the Southeastern Conference. Texas Tech is in the Big 12.

After a delayed start to the first game of the day at the College World Series, the Arkansas Razorbacks took a 3-0 lead on Texas Tech after three innings.

Arkansas scored twice in the top of the first inning on a two-run double by Dominic Fletcher.

The play was ruled a double after Texas Tech outfielders Cody Farhat and Gabe Holt collided while trying to make the catch.

The Razorbacks made it 3-0 when senior Jared Gates led off the top of the second with a solo home run.

Arkansas escaped trouble in the bottom half when Razorbacks left fielder Heston Kjerstad made a running catch of Farhat’s drive to the fence.

The Razorbacks later closed the inning when catcher Grant Koch threw out Cameron Warren trying to steal second base.

Arkansas’ pitching started to dominate in the bottom of the third when lefthander Kacey Murphy retired the side by striking out Braxton Fulford, Holt and Brian Klein.

Florida wins 6-1 to eliminate Texas from the CWS

Jonathan India and Nick Horvath both smashed home runs Tuesday afternoon to support a strong pitching effort as the Florida Gators defeated Texas, 6-1, ousting the Longhorns from the College World Series.

With the victory, the defending national champion Gators bounced back from a CWS-opening loss to Texas Tech and improved to 1-1 in Bracket 2.

Texas’ tournament run is over after an 0-2 showing in losses to Arkansas and Florida.

Texas Tech and Arkansas were scheduled to play later Tuesday in a winners’ bracket showdown, but the game was postponed because of weather concerns in Omaha, Nebraska.

It is now scheduled to be played at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Florida starter Jackson Kowar and relievers Jordan Butler and Michael Byrne combined to strike out 15 Longhorns. Kowar fanned 13 in 6 and 2/3 scoreless innings.

India slammed a three-run homer in a four-run sixth inning as the Gators built a 5-0 lead. Horvath added a solo shot to lead off the eighth.

Despite the loss, Texas enjoyed a strong season with 42 victories, a Big 12 regular-season title and its first trip to Omaha in four years.

Kody Clemens slammed five of his team-high 24 home runs as Texas advanced through the regional and super regional playoffs with a 5-1 combined record.

Starting pitching also had been a strength of the Longhorns on the first two weekends of the playoffs.

In Omaha, however, UT’s starting pitching was rocked in both games.

Nolan Kingham gave up five runs on nine hits in five innings against Arkansas, in an eventual 11-5 loss. Blair Henley lasted only 2 and 2/3 innings against Florida.

The Gators punched four hits against Henley, who also walked four before he was pulled in the third, trailing 1-0.

Chase Shugart pitched well in relief until the sixth inning, when the Gators erupted for four runs. The big blow was India’s 21st homer of the season.

Shugart yielded five runs on six hits in 4 and 1/3 innings. He struck out six.

Clemens also struggled in two CWS games.

He went 1 for 4 against the Gators and flied out to end the game with two runners on base. In Omaha, the son of UT legend Roger Clemens was 2 for 9 and did not drive in a run.

Records

Florida 48-20
Texas 42-23

Going ‘bananas’ for Westburg at the College World Series

The legend of the “Banana Man” has grown into a full-fledged phenomenon at the College World Series.

Jordan Westburg, a Mississippi State freshman from New Braunfels High School, smashed a grand slam Tuesday morning in the second inning of a winners’ bracket game against North Carolina.

As the player credited with inspiring a banana-related media buzz at the tournament in Omaha, Nebraska, he also totaled three hits and tied a CWS record with seven RBI in the Bulldogs’ 12-2 victory over the Tar Heels.

“Obviously a day he and his family will remember forever,” Bulldogs coach Gary Henderson told Mike Lopresti, writing for ncaa.com.

In the wake of the rout, Mississippi State (2-0 in the tournament) moved to within one win of the championship round.

North Carolina (1-1) and Oregon State (1-1) will play Wednesday to stay alive in Bracket 1 of the CWS, with the winner moving on to meet Mississippi State on Friday.

On Tuesday morning, Westburg was in the Mississippi State lineup as a designated hitter, batting ninth. For the season, he had played in only 39 of his team’s 65 games.

A modest .243 hitter, he was coming off an 0-for-3 performance in the Bulldogs’ CWS opener, a 1-0 victory over the Washington Huskies on Saturday.

But in the top of the second inning against the Tar Heels, Westburg delivered for his team.

With two outs and facing a 1-2 count, he stepped into a hanging breaking pitch from Tar Heels’ righthander Austin Bergner and drilled it into the left field grandstands for the 49th grand slam in CWS history.

Westburg, in a postgame interview with ESPN, called it “the greatest feeling ever.”

“That’s what every ball player strives to accomplish and dreams about,” he said. “Just being in that spot and knowing that my teammates had confidence in me and I had confidence in myself, I think that’s what helped me a little bit.”

Rounding the bases for only his second home run of the season, the euphoria of the moment kicked in.

“I don’t know what I was thinking,” he said. “It was just pure joy. In the second inning, to be able to give my team a lead. They scored first. It was huge. Just knowing that I could help my team that way was awesome.”

On social media, Westburg has been called “The Banana Man,” a reference to a moment of levity during the NCAA playoffs earlier this month.

During a June 3 NCAA tournament game at Tallahassee, Florida, Westburg ate a banana in the dugout as a snack.

Afterward, he reportedly picked up another banana and proceeded to start goofing around, holding it to his ear as if he were on the phone.

Also, according to a story in the Omaha World Herald, he pretended it was a radar gun.

The moment was captured on ESPN, which prompted the start of more and more social media posts.

When Westburg hit his grand slam Tuesday, television cameras captured the image of two fans dressed as bananas, celebrating with their fists in the air.

Fans were still going bananas in an eighth-run eighth inning when Westburg picked up two hits.

He singled and scored on one at bat, and then slapped a three-run double on the other.

After the game, ESPN went directly to an interview on the field with Westburg, who was holding his “lucky banana” at his side as he discussed his historic day and the apparent magic of the yellow fruit.

“It’s the best banana ever,” he said. “I’m just thankful I had a good day. So, yeah, this is definitely the best banana ever.”

Growing up in New Braunfels

Westburg played at New Braunfels High School under coach Bobby Alford.

He was a Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association (THSBCSA) first team All-State at shortstop in both 2016 and 2017.

Last season, Westburg also was the District 27-6A Most Valuable Player after hitting .457 for the Unicorns. He hit .406 as a junior in 2016.

Westburg played baseball, football and basketball at New Braunfels.

At Mississippi State, he started his college career in a program that was rocked with controversy in February with the resignation of coach Andy Cannizaro.

Officials responded by promoting Henderson from an assistant’s role into the head coaching job on an interim basis.

On the road to Omaha

Mississippi State steadied itself under Henderson, finished tied for third in the SEC West and gained momentum with a sweep of No. 1 Florida at the end of the regular season.

In its NCAA playoff opener, the Bulldogs were blown out, falling 20-10 to Oklahoma at Tallahassee, Florida.

Later, they won four elimination games in a row to advance.

At the Super Regional, they won two of three on the road at Vanderbilt to make it to Omaha.

“I think we just don’t have any give up in ourselves” Westburg said. “I think this whole team is just fighting. No matter what the score is. No matter what the situation is.

“We just play like some Bulldogs, honestly. We’re just going to keep trying to accomplish that every game.”

CWS Bracket 1 schedule

Wednesday

North Carolina vs. Oregon State, 2 p.m., elimination game

Friday

Mississippi State vs. North Carolina/Oregon State, 2 p.m.

Texas Tech downs No. 1 Florida in College World Series

The Texas Tech Red Raiders broke through in the middle innings with five unanswered runs off Florida ace Brady Singer en route to a 6-3 victory Sunday night at the College World Series.

In the CWS opener for both teams, the Red Raiders scored a run in the fourth inning and two each in the fifth and the sixth to erase an early one-run deficit and open a 5-1 lead on the top-seeded team in the NCAA tournament.

Florida rallied on a two-run homer in the seventh by Nelson Maldonado, drawing the defending national champions to within two.

But Texas Tech added one run for insurance in the ninth when Gabe Holt produced an RBI single, making it 6-3. Holt led Tech at the plate with two hits and three RBI.

Red Raiders pitchers Dylan Dusek, Ryan Shetter and Ty Harpenau combined to hold the Gators to five hits.

Texas Tech will advance in the winners’ bracket to meet the Arkansas Razorbacks Tuesday night. Florida and Texas will play in an elimination game on Tuesday afternoon.

Arkansas beat Texas 11-5 in an earlier game Sunday. The series is being played at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

Quotable

Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock:

“First of all, great atmosphere. Great crowd. City of Omaha does a great job. It’s the best place in the world to play baseball in June. Brady Singer’s a handful. So is (Jordan) Butler and (Michael) Byrne. Those guys are really good. Florida’s got a really good baseball team.

“That’s one game. I’m proud of our guys, the way we went out and competed. We were going to have to do that each inning to come out on the right side of it. And also have some good fortune. I thnk we had that.”

Notable

As Texas Tech plays in Omaha for the third time in five years, Tadlock’s team will experience something new — the winners’ bracket.

In 2014, the Red Raiders were ousted after losing two straight games in the double-elimination format. In 2016, they lost the opener, beat Florida and then lost again.

Beating Bsrady Singer

Singer, the Dick Howser Award Winner as the player of the year in college baseball, was most effective early in the game.

But once the Red Raiders measured him, they started to produce some good swings and made good contact even on balls that turned into outs. It also helped Tech that Florida’s defense faltered at key moments.

In the top of the fourth, San Antonio’s Josh Jung led off with a single to right field. He took second on a balk by Singer, got to third on a passed ball and scored on Grant Little’s sacrifice fly to make it 1-1.

Texas Tech took a 3-1 lead in the fifth courtesy of a few mistakes by Florida’s defense.

Cody Farhat laced a two-out single to center. A throwing error by Florida shortstop Deacon Liput allowed Braxton Fulfort to reach base, while Farhat made it all the way to third.

Holt followed with a two-run single through the right side on a ball that skipped past first baseman JJ Schulz and into the outfield. The ball appeared to be playable, but it was ruled a hit.

In the sixth inning, Zach Rheams belted an RBI double and Michael Davis and RBI single to make it 5-1.

Singer (12-2) pitched 6 and 1/3 innings. He allowed nine hits and five runs, only two of them earned.

The best pitcher of the night may have been Shetter, who was credited with the win after allowing three hits and a run in 4 and 1/3 innings. Shetter (6-0) struck out seven and walked one.

Records

Texas Tech 45-18
Florida 47-20

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Arkansas beats Texas, 11-5, after scoring eight runs in the sixth

The Arkansas Razorbacks scored eight runs in a sixth inning interrupted by a 2 hour and 47 minute weather delay en route to an 11-5 victory Sunday over the Texas Longhorns in the College World Series.

In the CWS opener for both teams, Arkansas sent 14 batters to the plate in the inning against six Texas pitchers.

The Razorbacks punched out six singles and took advantage of four walks and one batter that was hit by a pitch.

It was a nightmarish experience for the Longhorns, who are playing in the CWS for the first time since 2014.

The outburst lifted Arkansas into an 11-2 lead. Texas scored two in the eighth and one in the ninth during garbage time.

After the Razorbacks recorded the lopsided victory, they advanced in the winners’ bracket to meet either Florida or Texas Tech.

The Longhorns, in turn, will play the Florida-Texas Tech loser in an elimination game. Both games are set for Tuesday.

The world series is being played at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

Stars of the game

Arkansas — Senior Luke Bonfield hit a two-run homer in the fifth to lift Arkansas into a 3-2 lead. Freshman Heston Kjerstad produced three hits, including a two-run single in the sixth inning. Pitcher Blaine Knight (13-0) remained undefeated after working five innings.

Texas — Austin Todd slapped a two-run single in the eighth inning to give the Longhorns a lift. Tate Shaw was 3 for 3 with a triple and a run scored. Kody Clemens, the star of the playoffs for Texas, had one hit in five at bats.

Quotable

Texas coach David Pierce, on whether he felt Arkansas was that good of a team offensively:

“They were today. I thought early in the game we pitched well. You just can’t afford to pitch behind (in the count) against Arkansas. And that’s what happened when we got unraveled.

“Either we pitched behind or we tried to get strike one and threw white-on-white
instead of a quality pitch.

“I’m not shellshocked. It’s just part of it. It’s not the way wished it had gone. Unortunately, it got away from us and we … ust couldn’t overcome the deficit.”

Records

Arkansas 45-19
Texas 42-22

After Texas took a one-run lead, Arkansas retaliated with two runs in the bottom of the fifth and two more in the sixth to take charge.

The outburst that knocked out Texas starter Nolan Kingham left the Razorbacks in the lead, 5-2, when the game was suspended for a weather delay because of lightning in the area.

In the fifth, Kingham found trouble with a walk and then a two-run homer by Luke Bonfield.

Arkansas continued to apply pressure in the sixth with a couple of singles that forced Texas to go to its bullpen.

Texas reliever Parker Joe Robinson promptly walked two to force in the first run.

Josh Sawyer entered the game for Robinson, but he issued another walk, allowing the Razorbacks to score again.

Texas takes the lead

With Texas trailing by one early, the Longhorns scored in the third and the fifth innings in rallies sparked by Tate Shaw for a 2-1 lead.

In the third, Tate Shaw opened the inning with a triple to right center off Arkansas ace Blaine Knight.

Ryan Reyenolds brought him home with a chopper that Knight gloved and continued on to touch first for the unassisted play.

In the fifth, the Longhorns put men at first and second without hitting the ball out of the infield.

First, Masen Hibbeler reached on an infield single. Next, Shaw bunted for another hit.

Aftr Reynolds moved the runners up with a bunt sacrifice, David Shaw delivered with an RBI fly ball.

Texas left a runner stranded at third when Knight struck out Duke Ellis to end the threat.

Starters last five innings

Arkansas Blaine Knight and Texas’ Nolan Kingham both exited after picthing five innings.

Knight gave up two runs on four hits. He walked one and struck out four. Kingham allowed five runs on nine hits. He also walked one and fanned four.

The Arkansas Razorbacks have jumped out front, 1-0, on Texas on Day 2 of the College World Series.

It’s Arkansas’ Blaine Knight, still undefeated this season, against Texas’ Nolan Kingham.

Highlights to this point for Arkansas?

A three-hit, first inning produces one run. Heston Kjerstad laces a one-out single off Kingham to make it 1-0.

Hogs leave runners stranded at first and third.

Texas makes better contact in the second inning off Knight, including D.J. Petrinsky’s line drive to left that nearly goes out of the park.

In the bottom of the second, Arkansas is scoreless but UT second baseman Kody Clemens was flexing his right (throwing) hand after an attempt to field a hard smash off the bat of Jared Gates.

Sunday’s schedule

Arkansas 11, Texas 5
Texas Tech vs. Florida, 6 p.m.

Saturday’s results

North Carolina 8, Oregon State 6
Mississippi State 1, Washington 0

College World Series opens Saturday in Omaha

College World Series
Opening weekend

At TD Ameritrade Park
Omaha, Nebraska

Saturday, June 16

Bracket 1

Oregon State vs. North Carolina, 2 p.m.
Mississippi State vs. Washington, 7 p.m.

Sunday, June 17

Bracket 2

Arkansas vs. Texas, 1 p.m.
Florida vs. Texas Tech, 6 p.m.

Eight to Omaha

Breaking down Bracket 1

Oregon State (49-10-1) The Beavers finished second to Stanford in the Pac 12 standings and earned a No. 3 seed in the national tournament. In the playoffs, they have stormed to a 5-0 record, outscoring opponents 49-8. The Beavers beat Minnesota 8-1 and 6-3 in the Super Regional. Pitcher Luke Heimlich, in two playoff starts, has yielded two runs in 15 and 2/3 innings.

North Carolina (43-18) The Tar Heels won the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division en route to gaining a No. 6 national seed into the playoffs. In five tournament games, the Tar Heels are 5-0, with Michael Busch 10 for 17 with two homers and 11 RBI. Kyle Datres (.344) leads in hitting, followed by Busch (.333). Cooper Criswell (6-2) started and won the opener of the regional and the super regional. Heels swept Stetson for super regional title.

Mississippi State (37-27) The Bulldogs have advanced to the CWS under interim coach Gary Henderson, who took over in February following the resignation of Andy Cannizaro. State finished tied for third in the SEC West. In two playoff series, the Bulldogs have followed the lead of Elijah MacNamee and Jake Mangum to wins in five straight elimination games. On the road in the super regional, they ousted Vanderbilt in three games.

Washington (35-24) The Huskies finished third behind Stanford and Oregon State in the Pac-12 regular season. Shipped to Conway, S.C., they won three straight for the program’s first ticket to a super regional. In Fullerton, Calif., they followed by taking two of three against Cal State-Fullerton for their first CWS trip. Mason Cerillo (.335), Joe Wainhouse (19 HR) and Joe DeMers (7-3, 2.56) lead the Huskies.

Breaking down Bracket 2

Arkansas (44-19) The Razorbacks tied the Ole Miss Rebels for first in the SEC West at 18-12 to earn a No. 5 national seed in the tournament. They have not disappointed, posting a 5-1 record in the NCAA playoffs. After sweeping three games on the first weekend, they won two of three off South Carolina to advance to the CWS. The Hogs have crushed 94 home runs, including 14 apiece by Heston Kjerstad and Eric Cole. Blaine Knight (12-0, 2.84) is the staff ace.

Texas (42-21) After a slow start in February, the Longhorns got hot in May and won five of their last six Big 12 games to win the regular-season title. With a No. 13 national seed, they have followed Kody Clemens to the CWS with a 5-1 playoff record. Clemens is batting .500 in the playoffs with 11 hits, including three doubles and five home runs. The son of former MLB pitching star Roger Clemens has driven in 11 runs. UT pitching and defense combined to shut down explosive Tennessee Tech to win the Super Regional.

Florida (47-19) The defending national champions won the SEC East at 20-10 and earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. But on the last weekend of the regular season, the Gators lost star catcher JJ Schwarz to a hand injury. In spite of the setback, Florida has posted a 5-2 record in the playoffs. Pushed to the limit by Auburn in the super regional, they won 3-2 in 11 innings on an Austin Langworthy homer. Jonathan India (.354, 20 HR) is a player of the year candidate.

Texas Tech (44-18) Texas Tech finished third in the Big 12 race and lost two of three at the conference tournament. But the Red Raiders, seeded No. 9 nationally in the NCAA field, have ripped off five victories in six games in the tournament. Slowed by an 11-2 loss to Duke in the second game of the super regional, they hit three home runs in a clinching, 6-2 victory. Former San Antonio schoolboy Josh Jung (.390) leads six players batting .300 or better. Zach Rheams (17 HR) has the power stroke.

Texas Tech advances to the College World Series

Gabe Holt, Michael Davis and Brian Klein belted home runs Monday afternoon, lifting the Texas Tech Red Raiders into the College World Series with a 6-2 victory over Duke.

Five Texas Tech pitchers scattered 10 Duke hits to clinch the best-of-3 Lubbock Super Regional, two games to one.

It is the third CWS appearance for the Red Raiders in the past five seasons.

Texas Tech won the opener Saturday and Duke took the second game on Sunday to set up the decisive game at Rip Griffin Park.

Duke tied the game 1-1 in the top of the fourth inning on a Jimmy Herron infield single, but Texas Tech retaliated immediately.

Zach Rheams led off the bottom half of the inning with a ground rule double and Davis followed with a two-run homer, making it 3-1.

After Duke scored once on a couple of triples to pull within a run in the sixth inning, Texas Tech answered in the bottom of the seventh with a solo shot by Klein.

The Red Raiders picked up two insurance runs in the eighth on RBI singles from Holt and Josh Jung.

Jung, a Texas Tech sophomore from MacArthur, had four of his teams’s 13 hits to raise his batting average to .390 leading into the CWS.

It will be his first trip to Omaha as a player, though he says he has attended a few of them as a fan.

Quotable

Josh Jung, talking to ESPN before the final game of the Super Regional, about what it would mean for him to make it to the CWS:

“To me, it’s been a lifelong goal, since I was eight-years old.”

Records

Duke 45-18
Texas Tech 44-18

Clemens-led Texas advances to College World Series

Kody Clemens slammed his fifth home run of the NCAA playoffs Monday as the Texas Longhorns advanced to the College World Series by downing the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles, 5-2.

A sell-out crowd of more than 7,000 fans watched as the Longhorns backed the pitching of junior Matteo Bocchi and five relievers to clinch the Austin Super Regional.

Tennessee Tech won the first game of the best-of-3 series, but Texas bounced back to take the next two. Clemens hit home runs in all three games.

It is the 36th trip to the CWS for Texas, but it is the program’s first since 2014 and the first under second-year coach David Pierce, who kept the Longhorns steady after a shaky 9-9 start to the regular season.

Texas scored two runs in the second inning and two more in the third for a four-run lead on the Golden Eagles, the talented Ohio Valley Conference champions who won 53 games this season.

In the second, UT’s Ryan Reynolds laced a two-run double to the base of the fence in left field.

In the third, Clemens drilled a one-out, opposite-field home run. It was his 24th homer of the season. One out later, D.J. Petrinsky added another solo shot to make it 4-0.

Bocchi, making his 20th appearance and only his fourth start of the season, pitched five innings of four-hit ball. The former member of the Italian junior national team left with a 4-1 lead.

Trailing by the evntual final score, Tennessee Tech loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth. Facing Nolan Kingham, Brennon Kaleiwahea grounded out to end the game.

Records

Texas 42-21
Tennessee Tech 53-12

Bocchi to start for Texas against Tennessee Tech

Junior Matteo Bocchi has been named as the starting pitcher for the Texas Longhorns against Tennessee Tech in Monday’s third and deciding game of the Austin Super Regional.

The game starts at noon at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, with the winner earning a berth in the College World Series.

Bocchi will be making his 20th appearance of the season and only his fourth start. He comes in with a 3-1 record and a 3.34 earned run average in 32 and 1/3 innings.

His last start came on May 23 against Kansas in Texas’ opener at the Big 12 tournament.

Bocchi walked four and gave up two runs in an eventual 3-2 loss to the Jayhawks.

The decision to start Bocchi comes a day after Texas coach David Pierce elected to use Blair Henley in relief Sunday in Game 2 against Tennessee Tech.

Texas needed a victory to avoid elimination, and Henley responded by giving up one run in three innings to preserve a 4-2 victory that tied the Super Regional at one win apiece.

Bocchi, a transfer from Odessa College, is the first Italian-born student-athlete to play baseball at Texas. His hometown is Parma, Italy.

In 2013, he threw a 9-inning shutout for Team Italy in its win over the Czech Republic at the Under-18 World Cup.

Bocchi played in the 2008 Little League World Series representing Italy with the Emilia Little League.

It was the country’s first native team to qualify for Williamsport.

He later played in high school for ITE Melloni in Parma, Italy.

Duke routs Texas Tech 11-2 at the Lubbock Super Regional

Max Miller doubled and tripled and produced four RBI for the Duke Blue Devils, who defeated Texas Tech 11-2 Sunday night in the NCAA Lubbock Super Regional.

With the victory, the Blue Devils tied the best-of-3 series at one game apiece. A deciding Game 3 is set for Monday with the winner advancing to the College World Series.

The game is set for 3 p.m. on ESPN2.