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.


Texas 42-21
Tennessee Tech 53-12

Texas bounces back to beat Tennessee Tech, 4-2

Kody Clemens doubled and homered and drove in two runs Sunday as the Texas Longhorns beat Tennessee Tech, 4-2, to tie the best-of-3 Austin Super Regional at one win apiece.

A deciding Game 3 is set for noon Monday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, with the winner earning a berth in the College World Series.

Shutting down an explosive offense, Chase Shugart pitched six innings and Blair Henley the last three for the Longhorns, who were facing elimination after losing the series opener 5-4 on Saturday.

Shugart experienced some problems with control but pitched effectively when it counted, holding the Golden Eagles to two hits and one unearned run.

The Texas defense also emerged as a factor.

While the UT infield turned a couple of double plays, it also broke down once with a throwing error by Clemens accounting for Tennessee Tech’s first run of the game in the second inning.

UT’s miscue allowed the Golden Eagles to cut the lead to 2-1.

Clemens made up for it in the Longhorns’ next at bat with a long solo homer off Tennessee Tech starter and staff ace Travis Moths, a 13-game winner who took the loss.

Texas scored again in the seventh off Moths to make it 4-1. David Garza answered for Tennessee Tech in the bottom half by greeting Henley with a first-pitch solo homer.

But that was it for the Golden Eagles, who managed only three hits on the afternoon.

Clemens, a third-round draft choice by the Detroit Tigers, continued his torrid offensive pace against Tennessee Tech.

In five NCAA tournament games, the son of former major league pitching star Roger Clemens is batting .474 with three doubles and four home runs.

He has also produced 10 RBI.

Thanks to Clemens and friends, the Longhorns moved to within one victory of their first trip to Omaha under second-year UT coach David Pierce.

The Longhorns are looking for their 36th trip overall.


Kody Clemens, in comments posted on the Texas website, on whether he was surprised that the Golden Eagles pitched to him:

“Not really, I was just going up there with the same approach as always. I didn’t know what they were going to try and do, but I knew that pitcher’s sequences. I just got a good pitch and got a good swing on it.”

Coach David Pierce, on electing to pitch Henley in Game 2:

“Well, this is the thing, there’s no tomorrow if we don’t win today. It makes no sense to me to have our next best guy sitting in the bullpen and then we’d never get to him, for the simple fact that we’re waiting on playing him tomorrow. We had an opportunity to win and we went for it. Plus, he gives Parker Joe (Robinson) and Josh (Sawyer) some rest. I knew he was fresh, I knew his stuff would play, and it was the right decision for us.”


Texas 41-21
Tennessee Tech 53-11

Texas edges Indiana for NCAA Austin Regional championship

Kody Clemens drove in the go-ahead run with a double in the seventh inning, and starting pitcher Blair Henley worked into the eighth, lifting the Texas Longhorns to a 3-2 victory Sunday night over Indiana for the NCAA Austin Regional title.

The win propelled Texas into the Super Regional round of the playoffs for the first time under second-year coach David Pierce. It is Texas’ first Super Regional trip since 2014.

Indiana survived an elimination game earlier in the day, beating Texas A&M, 9-7, and then pushed Texas to the limit in a drama- and controversy-filled ninth inning.

In their last at bat, the Hoosiers loaded the bases against Andy McGuire on a single, a hit by pitch and a walk.

Frustrated at the turn of events, Texas coaches pulled McGuire, their third reliever since the eighth, and handed the ball to Chase Shugart.

Shugart promptly fanned freshman Sam Crail for the second out.

Next, Matt Lloyd stepped to the plate and sent a fly ball twisting into foul territory and toward the left field grandstand.

UT leftfielder Masen Hibbeler raced to the barrier to get in position, reached over the rail and appeared to make the catch.

But when he pulled his glove back, the ball came loose and landed on the outfield turf.

For a moment, Hibbeler thought he had made the grab and so did the fans, who celebrated what they thought was the game-clinching out.

Moments later, officials ruled the play a no catch, giving Lloyd new life. It didn’t last long.

Shugart recorded the strike out, prompting Pierce to turn and clinch his fists in triumph.

Clemens called Hibbeler’s effort a “crazy” play.

“He caught the ball,” Clemens said on ESPN. “Then I saw the ball on the ground. I thought he just tossed it.”

Pierce later told the network that he thought the umpire made the correct call.

“(Hibbeler’s) feet hit the ground, but he never really had total possession of the ball,” the UT coach said.

In discussing his at bat that produced the go-ahead run, Clemens said he was looking for a breaking ball, and he pulled it into the corner in right field.

“I was able to put a good swing on it,” Clemens said.


Texas 40-20
Indiana 40-19