Texas 10, Arizona State 3: Feeling confident, Longhorns close in on the super regionals
On Saturday night, the Texas Longhorns jumped into the driver's seat at the Austin Regional.
Ty Madden showcased his All-American arm in a 10-3 win over Arizona State at a near-capacity UFCU Disch-Falk Field. En route to scoring double-digit runs for the second straight day, Texas got a home run from Zach Zubia and RBIs from six different players.
The win puts the Longhorns in an advantageous position. Texas (44-15) just needs to win one more game — against either Arizona State (33-21) or Fairfield (38-4) — to advance to a super regional next week. Arizona State and Fairfield will battle on Sunday afternoon for the right to face Texas at 8.
If Texas loses on Sunday night, a winner-takes-all rematch would take place on Monday.
"This team's got a lot of confidence right now," Madden said. "We're ready to roll."
In each of the first two innings, Texas failed to score after getting a runner to third base. In the first frame, Arizona State starter Justin Fall escaped the jam by retiring three straight batters in the heart of UT's batting order. A double play did in the Longhorns in the second inning.
But after dancing with danger in the first and second innings, Fall fell apart in the third.
As Texas built a 3-0 lead, Fall walked four batters and hit third baseman Cam Williams. One of those walks and the Williams plunking happened with the bases loaded. And after he allowed a runner to score on a wild pitch, Fall left the game with an Arizona State trainer.
The Longhorns grabbed control without producing a big hit over those first three innings. The Texas bats did not stay silent, though.
In the fourth, Zubia smacked a two-run homer. Williams doubled twice and beat a sixth-inning throw to the plate. Trey Faltine and Eric Kennedy drove in runs in the sixth with two-out hits, and Silas Ardoin added a two-run single in the eighth.
"I think we got our feet wet a little bit in the first three (innings)," Zubia said. "Once the offense settled in, we were just rolling."
Texas finished the game with 12 hits off five Arizona State pitchers. The Longhorns also drew eight walks and three batters were hit by wayward Sun Devil pitches.
Ten runs would have been enough to win any of Ty Madden's first 14 starts this season. Saturday was no different.
Madden, who was named a Collegiate Baseball All-American this week, threw 106 pitches and registered seven strikeouts over six innings. He allowed three hits and issued four walks. The Sun Devils manufactured one run out of a bases-loaded opportunity in the fifth inning.
Texas turned the game over to its bullpen in the seventh inning. Freshman Tanner Witt, though, hit the first batter he saw and then served up a pitch that Nate Baez homered off of.
Arizona State was one day removed from a 7-6 win over Fairfield in which it overcame a 6-4 deficit. No such comeback occurred on Saturday. Texas stuck with Witt, and the right-hander shut the door on the Sun Devils. Over the final three innings, Witt struck out three batters and gave up one more hit.
Saturday's save was Witt's fifth. He has pitched at least two innings in four of those saves.
"He's a freshman, this is the first time he's been in that environment," UT coach David Pierce said. "I didn't say a word to him. Sean (Allen) went out and just slowed him down a little bit. He regained his form and did a nice job of finishing."
An announced crowd of 6,981 was the largest this season at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, which has a capacity of 7,373. The Longhorns improved to 29-5 at home.
"They were going crazy. I think they made a difference in the game for sure," Zubia said. "It was awesome to see, it was awesome to be a part of. I think they were a big help and I hope to see even more tomorrow."
Around the bases: Zubia extended his on-base streak to 35 games. ... Second-year left-hander Pete Hansen (8-1, 1.88 ERA) will start for Texas on Sunday. ... Williams finished with his fourth three-hit game of the season. ... After stealing two bases, Mike Antico upped his conference-leading total to 32. That is the most for a Longhorn since Drew Stubbs swiped the same amount of bags in 2005.