A ninth-inning balk by Golden Eagle pitcher Jameson Dunn gave the Texas Longhorns a 5-4 win over Oral Roberts University Tuesday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. Texas (18-7) had two outs and runners on the corners when Dunn botched his fake pick-off of Michael Torres at first base.
Texas entered the bottom of the ninth hoping it could avoid extra innings, but after Kyle Lusson and Travis Tucker both failed to reach, the Horns were two outs in and it was beginning to look like they were going to need a little overtime to send the Eagles (8-8) packing.
The Horns finally saw their winning run when freshman shortstop Brandon Loy worked himself into a full count before drawing a ball four and taking his base – but he wasn’t done. While Torres was following him at the plate, Loy stole second and then quickly got to third on a wild pitch. Torres got up 3-1 in the count before Dunn intentionally walked him to clear the way for freshman Morgan Micken. Instead, David Hernandez came to the plate as a pinch hitter, but it turns out it didn’t matter anyway. Before Hernandez faced a single pitch, Dunn’s walk-off balk had already been called and Loy had made it home.
“David’s plan was just to hit the ball,” said Texas head coach Augie Garrido. “But we had talked to Michael about faking a steal. Turns out he did just that and the pitcher got confused and that was that.”
That was exactly what Texas needed to take back the lead they carried from the seventh inning to the top of the ninth.
Left fielder Tant Shepherd lead off the seventh with a single to right field before passing his helmet off to pinch runner Tim Maitland. Left fielder Kevin Keyes and Lusson drew walks to push Maitland to third until Travis Tucker plated him with a single that put Texas up 1-0. The Horns picked up two more runs when Loy got beaned with the bases loaded and Torres followed up with a sac fly. Tucker took advantage of a wild pitch to steal home and put the Horns up 4-0 at the end of the inning.
“When you see the ball behind (the catcher) you just know to go,” Tucker said. “When it doesn’t bounce off of the mat behind him you just see it and run as hard as possible.”
Despite quickly retiring batters one, two and three in the eighth, closer Austin Wood had a harder time shutting down Oral Roberts’s last scoring chance. The Golden Eagles quickly filled the bases with no outs to open the ninth and before their bats went cool, they had knotted the game at 4-4.
Wood (4-0) wound up getting the win and maintaining his perfect record but the performance that teammates were happiest to see was that of was UT-Arlington transfer Kendal Carillo, who made his debut performance on the mound against the Golden Eagles. In two innings of work, Carillo gave up two hits while striking out three of the eight batters he faced.
“I was a little nervous warming up but once I looked at the guys behind me I knew I would be okay,” he said. “It felt great to finally get my feet wet.”
Dunn got the loss for giving up one run and walking two in one-and-two-thirds innings.
This weekend, the Longhorns head to Stillwater for three-game series against Oklahoma State University. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday. After taking on the Cowboys, the Horns will return to face TCU at the Disch on April 7.