SAN MARCOS — The last thing either Texas or Texas State wanted Tuesday night was an extra-inning game, especially with their busy early season schedules. But that’s what they got, thanks to Longhorns freshman closer Chase Shugart.
Shugart, who hadn’t allowed a hit in his first 6 1/3 innings of college baseball, surrendered two singles and walked another batter in the bottom of the ninth to put himself, and Texas, in harm’s way. But he also struck out two and coaxed a pair of bases-loaded grounders to work out of the jam he created.
That gave the Longhorns a chance to win, which they did in the 11th inning on bases-loaded walk with no outs to Jake McKenzie by Texas State reliever Calvin Bush. Texas scored six times in the frame to finally rush past the Bobcats 10-4 before 2,776 fans, the largest crowd ever at Bobcat Ballpark.
“Shugart was able to wiggle off the hook there in the ninth and we eventually took advantage of some of Texas State’s inexperience on the mound in the 11th inning,” Texas coach Augie Garrido said. It was the first extra-innings win in three tries this season for the Longhorns. “It would be nice to not have to play extra-inning games, but at least this one was just 11 innings and we won the thing.”
Zane Gurwitz, who went 4 for 5 with a walk, brought home another run off Bush in the 11th before Bret Boswell ripped a two-run double. Texas (5-3) added two more runs when Gurwitz scored on a wild pitch and Boswell came in on Tres Barrera’s sacrifice fly.
Shugart (1-0), who was the sixth of seven Longhorns pitchers, earned his first college win. Pasquale Mazzoccoli (0-1), who gave up three runs in the 11th, took the loss.
Texas’ Morgan Cooper made his first start since May 24, 2014 — against Oklahoma State in the Big 12 tournament — after recovering from Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for all of the 2015 season. He had a pitch ceiling entering the game and lasted four innings, giving up two earned runs on two hits and three walks. He struck out six.
Texas State (5-4) took advantage of Cooper’s wildness to score two runs in the second inning. Tanner Hill and Nick Perez both walked with two outs, and Jared Huber’s single to right field scored Hill, with both Perez and Huber moving up a base on the throw home. Perez, who was on third, then scored when Cooper was called for a balk.
The Longhorns finally got to Bobcats starter Brandon Lewis in the fifth, when McKenzie laid down a perfect safety squeeze bunt to plate Kaleb Denny in from third base. Gurwitz then ripped a two-out double down the left field line, scoring Kody Clemens, and Boswell singled in Gurwitz to give Texas a 3-2 lead. Texas made it 4-2 on Clemens’ two-out triple in the fifth, which scored Travis Jones.
Texas State cut the lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth on Hill’s deep solo home run over the left field fence; it was Hill’s third homer of the season. The Bobcats had a chance to tie it in the bottom of the seventh, but Texas’ Jones threw out Cody Lovejoy from left field as Lovejoy tried to score from third on a medium-deep fly ball. But Texas State did tie it an inning later on Newman’s opposite-field home run off Kacy Clemens.
The Bobcats loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but Luke Sherley and Grager Studdard, who have been Texas State’s best two hitters so far this season, both grounded ou.
“I’ve got my hottest two guys at the plate with a chance to win the game there, and I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Texas State coach Ty Harrington said. “I’ll take my chances with those guys anytime. Studdard barreled the pitch he hit, but it was right at the Texas fielder. That’s just how it goes sometimes.”
Texas returns to action on Thursday when it hosts Cal in the first of a four-game series. Texas State begins a three-game home series against Incarnate Word on Friday.