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CBD Quick Hits: Texas 4, Arizona State 2

This game, unfortunately, will always be remembered for a unique situation that led to a controversial call from the umpires. From the walk that was overruled by an umpire’s call of batter interference, the Longhorns held the Sun Devils to only a pair of base runners over the final five innings. Arizona State, which picked up their runs on a first inning homer from Riccio Torrez, never quite recovered the momentum they built up in the early stages of the game, and stumbled out of the playoffs in a 4-2 defeat. The win sent Texas to Omaha, while Arizona State went back to Tempe.

 

  • Texas started second round draftee Sam Stafford, while Arizona State went with occasional starter Kyle Ottoson. In the end, Ottoson looked better than Stafford, who seemed shaky in his final innings.
  • Just like the previous two games, the best asset for Arizona State was their stellar defense. They didn’t make many flashy plays, but they made almost every play. The one time they faltered, Texas made them pay.
  • Texas 1B Tant Shepherd has to be the MVP for this series. He didn’t do much with his bat, but his defense was the reason Texas is going to play next week. Shepherd’s highlight tonight came in the second inning. Zach MacPhee doubled to center field, and attempted to advance after center fielder Paul Montalbano’s throw sailed toward the right field line. Shepherd was able to back up the play and fire a strike to third base, where MacPhee was tagged out to end the inning. The play goes along with last night’s play at the plate, thanks to Shepherd’s quick thinking.
  • Arizona State reliever Mitchell Lambson has improved greatly since his 2009 CWS appearances against Texas. Lambson took the loss tonight, but threw five solid innings, including getting the Sun Devils out of a bases-loaded, no-outs jam with a pair of strikeouts and a ground out to first base.
  • Texas closer Corey Knebel tied the Longhorn’s single-season save record with his 19th save. Knebel tied Longhorn volunteer coach J. Brent Cox, who set the record in 2005 with a save against Florida in the final game of the championship series.
  • Texas relievers Hoby Milner and Nathan Thornhill are a pair of young arms that look like veterans. When looking back at the last great Texas bullpen in 2005, it was full of experienced upperclassmen (Buck Cody, Clayton Stewart, J. Brent Cox) while the strength in this pen comes from a pair of freshmen (Knebel, Thornhill) and a sophomore (Milner).