The No. 9 seeded Texas Longhorns failed to register an extra hit for the first time this season as the offense 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 let go behind 11 hits, including two homers. The Notre Dame pitcher was superior with left-hander John Michael Bertrand, who went 5.1 innings, allowing just six hits and three runs with eight strikeouts, and left-hander Jack Findlay went 2.1 innings without allow one hit and two strikeouts, dominating Texas. .
The Horns will now face the Aggies on Sunday in a playoff game at 1 p.m. Central on ESPN.
Texas are one of the College World Series favorites, but to have a good chance of making the finals, head coach David Pierce’s team must open their time in Omaha with a win over Notre Dame on Friday. at Charles Schwab Field at age 6. :3 p.m. Central on ESPN.
Texas sends left-hander Pete Hansen (11-2, 3.40) to the mound in hopes their ace can locate his fastball on both sides of the plate to make a quality start and save the bullpen. Notre Dame fights back with veteran left-hander John Michael Bertrand (9-3, 2.67), who struggled in his last outing, allowing six runs on eight hits over 4.2 innings in last Friday’s loss against Tennessee.
The winner of Friday’s game will face Oklahoma, who beat No. 5 seed Texas A&M 13-8 in Friday’s opener. The loser will face the Aggies in a playoff game on Sunday.
Notre-Dame was the first to register. With Hansen working at the upper end of his speed range with his fastball, he left it 3-1 up and down in the middle of the plate. Irish second baseman Jared Miller took advantage, driving it just over the right field wall for a 1-0 lead.
Hansen retired the next two batters to get out of the inning.
Texas fell in order to Bertrand in Game 1 as center fielder Douglas Hodo III hit on a high fastball, left fielder Eric Kennedy pulled out at first base and first baseman Ivan Melendez retired in the third.
Hansen gave up an opening hit just past shortstop Trey Faltine in the hole, but retired the next batter with a wicked 1-2 break ball. After trailing shortstop Zach Prajzner 2-1, Hansen allowed a single to center to put the runners first and second with one out. Another strikeout and a groundout to shortstop got Hansen out of second.
The Longhorns struggled to do anything against Bertrand in second either as second baseman Murphy Stehly floated to center field and designated hitter Austin Todd was out at second. Third baseman Skyler Messinger hit a ball into the hole at second base and Notre Dame second baseman made a nice play to shut it down early. After Messinger was initially ruled out, the replay overturned the call, but the Longhorns were unable to take advantage as receiver Silas Ardoin retired to shortstop.
Hansen quickly got into trouble again in the third inning, hitting the first batter, allowing his first stolen base of the season when Ardoin couldn’t handle the rally behind the plate, then putting the runners to first and third with a single left. side of the infield. Notre Dame then narrowly missed a home run on the opposite field from first baseman Carter Putz, who eventually found himself in the pick of a defenseman to make it 2-0 Fighting Irish. Two more strikeouts helped Hansen avoid any further damage.
Right fielder Dylan Campbell narrowly missed his own home run to take the lead in the bottom of the third before scoring a walk. In another strong at-bat, Faltine worked a full count before hitting a single to center field that moved Campbell to third, prompting a visit from the mound by Notre Dame. Hodo couldn’t bring Campbell home, hitting on three pitches, but Kennedy did on a sacrificial bunt that resulted in an out at second base. Melendez continued the inning with a center single that moved Kennedy to third, but Stehly retired both runners.
Once again, Hansen put himself under quick pressure, giving up a field single to the first batter, but worked forward in the count against Prajzner before inducing a popup to Faltine by hammering a fastball into his hands. . Another single put the runners first and third with one out. As Notre Dame attempted a bunt to score the third runner, Hansen made a spectacular play, quickly descending the mound, barehanded the ball and tossing it to Ardoin to make the play at home plate. Initially at least, the appeal was canceled after review. A fly ball in deep right field was deep enough for the runner to attempt to advance. Initially deemed safe, Texas challenged the appeal and it appeared the runner’s foot was out of the bag when Messinger applied the tag, but the review failed. Hansen charged the bases on a spiked pitch that hit the batter, putting the Texan pitcher in the game’s most dangerous position, but a line drive to Stehly at second base netted the hard-earned third out with the Irish leading 3-1.
Bertrand needed just four pitches to get two late-inning groundouts and three more to pop Ardoin out on a short right-field popup.
Hansen managed to win long at bat to open the inning with one strikeout, then gave up two singles, the seventh and eighth hits for Notre Dame in the game as his pitch count soared into the 80s. A third single, this time down the middle, scored another point for the Fighting Irish as Hansen faced a tight strike zone and ended the night for the Texas ace. Right-hander Tristan Stevens came into the game and was called for a backhand when he faked a pitch at third, which resulted in a run being scored by Notre Dame before he had even thrown a pitch. A 1-2 pitch single from Stevens extended the lead to 6-1 with two outs before a stolen steal ended the frame and pressured the Longhorns offense to finally show some life.
It was Campbell again who provided some, scoring in the middle to start the inning, but Faltine struck out before a strong at-bat from Hodo led to a single to left field to score Campbell and reduce the deficit at 6-2. Texas couldn’t put together a sustained rally, however, as Kennedy came out in foul territory and Melendez hit in a defender’s pick.
Stevens recorded the first out on a pitch at first base before walking the next batter on a 10-pitch at-bat and then recovering with a 5-4-3 double play.
Stehly picked left field to put a first runner on base for the Longhorns in sixth, only the third hit by 1-5 batters for Texas in 13 at-bats, and advanced to second on wild pitch. After Todd moved Stehly to third, Notre Dame made its first bullpen call, eliminating Bertrand in favor of right-hander Alex Rao. Up 0-2 on Messinger, Rao sent a high fastball to the backstop, allowing Stehly to score. With a 90s fastball and a devastating change, Rao was able to take down Messinger and Ardoin to bring down the Longhorns.
Seeming to settle more, Stevens quickly recorded strikeouts on a fly ball to center field and two strikeouts to easily pass the seventh.
Texas hit the ball hard twice to open the seventh, but both went straight to Notre Dame third baseman at bats from Campbell and Faltine. A four-length walk traced by Hodo resulted in a bullpen call by the Irish, opting for southpaw Jack Findlay to face Kennedy. Working inside and out with his fastball, Findlay hit Kennedy while swinging.
Stevens kept up his pace with two flyouts and a groundout for another easy inning, bringing Melendez to the plate against Findlay, who continued his sensational pitching run by retiring Melendez and narrowly avoiding a Stehly home run on a fly ball. imposing just missed by Texas second baseman.
With two outs in the ninth, Stevens gave up a home run as Notre Dame extended the lead to 7-3 before Stevens retired the team. The Longhorns couldn’t get to Findlay in the ninth as the Fighting Irish reliever put Texas in order.