Texas outfielder Duke Ellis (11) celebrates Texas' 8-1 win over LSU in an NCAA baseball game on Friday, March 1, 2019, in Austin, Texas. [NICK WAGNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

BEVO BEAT Baseball

The Final Pitch: Texas 6, Xavier 5 (12 innings)

Posted March 29th, 2019

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In its first-ever meeting with Xavier, Texas lost an early lead but rallied twice and eventually recorded its second walk-off win of the season.

Texas got ahead in the second inning as Ryan Reynolds drove home Masen Hibbeler with a single and Lance Ford scored on a two-out wild pitch. Texas lost its shutout bid in the eighth inning when Cole Quintanilla hit a Musketeer with the bases loaded. Xavier then tied the game on a sacrifice fly by Jake Shepski.

Xavier and Texas both scored on two-strike counts with two outs in the 10th inning. Two innings later, Xavier scored twice on Shepski’s two-out infield single. Texas responded by getting all six of its runners on base in the inning’s bottom half, and UT completed the comeback on Caston Peter’s RBI single and Duke Ellis’ two-run double to deep left field.

Earlier this month, Texas beat LSU 7-6 on Austin Todd’s walk-off single. UT last participated in a 12-inning game during a 2017 postseason duel with Long Beach State.

“If Duke Ellis can stay locked in and concentrate throughout the game, he’s really good,” Texas coach David Pierce said. “You could tell in his at-bats late in the game that he had so much confidence and he was seeing the ball. I’m just so happy for him and for the team. We needed that.”

Ranked 13th in the D1Baseball poll, Texas (18-11) had lost four of it previous six games. Xavier is now 9-16.

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Texas starting pitcher Bryce Elder did not factor in the decision, but he exited after the sixth inning with UT leading 2-0. Four days after he was named the Big 12’s pitcher of the week for the second time this spring, Elder allowed six hits and struck out six batters. Elder entered the game with the Big 12’s sixth-best ERA (1.98). That ERA dipped to 1.70 on Friday.

NOTABLE NUMBER: 22. Of the 24 teams on UT’s 2019 schedule, Texas has won the first-ever meeting against 22 of those schools. Those two losses? Stanford beat UT 9-8 during 1981’s postseason meet-and-greet. West Virginia debuted against Texas with a 1-0 win in 2013.

UP NEXT: Texas and Xavier will return to UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Saturday. A later-than-usual first pitch is set for 5:30 p.m. UT RHP Blair Henley (3-1; 3.74 ERA) will look to continue a string of strong starts. Xavier RHP Griffin Lanoue (2-1; 6.27) will oppose Henley.

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