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Douglas Hodo III knew what the Red River Shootout meant growing up. The son of former Longhorn outfielder Doug Hodo, Hodo III entered into Friday night’s game understanding the amount of passion on each side of the baseball edition of the rivalry.
“I was just telling someone that each year when the Red River Rivalry happens in football season, that my dad gave me and my brother a pass when we we’re younger to say, ‘OU sucks,’” Hodo III said. “That was the only day.”
Hodo III stepped to the plate in a 3-3 game in the bottom of the 11th. He entered the at-bat 1-for-3 but had an opportunity with Mitchell Daly on first base. He fouled a pitch back, swung and missed at another, then took a ball.
Texas head coach David Pierce mentioned Thursday he wanted to see Hodo III cut down on his strikeout total. Hodo III took it to heart. He fouled two pitches off, then waited for Sooner reliever Luke Taggart’s next offering.
“He left a slider where I could do some damage with it,” Hodo III.
Daly rounded second when he saw the ball head to the left centerfield gap of Hodo III’s bat. Then he rounded third. Pierce said after the game there was no doubt they were sending him home. Daly slid in headfirst, and Hodo III attempted to scamper away from his teammates after tapping second base and driving in the winning run to take the first game against Oklahoma, 4-3. He couldn’t elude the rest of the burnt orange crew after him.
“I made good contact with it and ended up in center field with my shirt off,” Hodo III.
His 11th inning at bat was a bright flash after an offensive slog over the previous eight innings. Texas scored three runs in the second via a Zach Zubia solo home run, a Daly RBI double, and a Hodo III RBI single. From the third to the tenth, the Longhorn offense amassed three hits off OU starter Wyatt Olds and relievers Jaret Goodman, Ledgend Smith, and Jason Ruffcorn.
However, those three runs helped Texas hold a 3-2 lead for most of the game. Friday starter Ty Madden didn’t have his most overpowering stuff, but still held OU to two runs on six hits and two walks over 6.0 innings, striking out six.
Freshmen Tanner Witt relieved him and powered through the Sooner hitters he faced in the seventh. In the eighth, an errant pickoff attempt gave the Sooners the opportunity to tie the game, one they took when Witt threw a wild pitch with a runner on third.
Aaron Nixon relieved Witt and pitched 2.2 shutout innings. The game entered extras, and Nixon ended the 10th with no issue.
Cole Quintanilla relieved Witt in the top of the 11th and struck out the only two Sooners he faced, stranding a runner in scoring position.
Pierce has called on Quintanilla more and more in recent weeks, and spoke following the game about Quintanilla’s progress.
“To watch Cole’s development has been really rewarding because he’s a kid that has built his confidence more and more every time out,” Pierce said. “He’s not just trying to beat people with his fastball now. He’s actually pitching and he’s having great results because of it.”
His progress is a testament to his tenaciousness, the same tenaciousness Hodo III offered at the plate in crunch time of a game he envisioned himself playing in for more than a decade.
“He swung at a slider down, fought off a couple of pitches and just put himself in a good spot,” Pierce said. “The guy made a mistake, and he was in a great spot to stay on that pitch.”
Tristan Stevens heads to the mound Saturday afternoon for the Longhorns to try and take another Big 12 series for the Longhorns.