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

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.