The wildest game of the young Texas baseball season ended with the Longhorns’ second walk-off hit of the season. This time junior outfielder Duke Ellis provided the fireworks in the bottom of the 12thinning to pull off a 6-5 victory over the Xavier Musketeers.
Ellis was the offensive catalyst in extra innings on Friday night. In the bottom of the tenth inning, he hit an RBI single that kept the game afloat. After the Musketeers recaptured the lead in the top of the 12th, freshman Caston Peter would cut the lead to one and Ellis scored the game winner with a no-out, bases loaded ground-rule double to left-center.
Had the wind not been blowing to the west, Ellis would have made it even more of a career day. Specifically, earlier in the game Ellis drove a ball high and deep to left field. Shortly after the ball left the bat, Ellis gave a little bat flip as if he knew it was gone right away. However, the longer it stayed in the air, the more it carried toward the foul pole. The ball ended up just foul much to the frustration of Ellis.
“It started right of the 340 sign (in left center field),” Ellis said. “I was like ‘there’s no way that’s going foul.’ But it did.”
Other major offensive contributors include both Peter and sophomore infielder Sam Bertelson, who both got hits in major situations. Bertelson pinch hit for senior catcher Michael McCann in the 10thinning. He hit a single to center and would be replaced by freshman Bryce Reagan on the base path. Reagan would eventually be the run that Ellis drove in to tie the game.
Peter, who replaced McCann in the field, singled home junior infielder Ryan Reynolds, who had a two-hit day himself, to cut the lead to one in the 12th.
Starting pitcher sophomore Bryce Elder was his dominant self yet again. Through six innings, Elder allowed zero runs on six hits while also striking out six and issuing only one walk. Elder’s dominant showings have become almost expected. In just over 42 innings of work, Elder has compiled a 5-2 record and allowed only eight earned runs. He has also struck out 44 batters and possesses an eye-popping 1.70 ERA for the season.
“I thought Bryce Elder was outstanding again,” head coach David Pierce said.
The bullpen, however, struggled in replacement of him. The trio of sophomores Tristan Stevens and Kamron Fields and freshman Kolby Kubichek combined to allow five earned runs on only one hit. The three struggled to find their control as they combined to walk five batters.
Texas played the majority of Friday night’s game with a lead. After notching two runs in the second inning, it wasn’t until a two-run eighth inning from Xavier would tie the game. Texas had the lead, lost it, got down, tied the game, lost it again and went on to win in the span of 5.5 innings, the majority of which were extra innings.
In a game where Texas should have come away with a loss, Pierce said that this type of win was exactly what his team needed.
“It’s been a tough week,” Pierce said. “They could’ve easily quit playing whenever got behind in both of those innings. It was great for the team to keep playing and have a shot there late and then come through. We needed that.”
Texas will play the second game of its three game series against Xavier on Saturday. First pitch at The Disch is set for 5:30 P.M.
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