Horns come from way back to top ASU

June 17, 2009 5:04:06 AM PDT
Coming back from six runs down against Arizona State and first-round draft pick Mike Leake leaves Texas coach Augie Garrido wondering what the Longhorns possibly could do for an encore. [SPORTS BLOG: Read the latest from the Eyewitness Sports team]

Really, it could be anything.

The Longhorns got two home runs from Cameron Rupp and 5 2-3 innings of two-hit shutout relief from Taylor Jungmann to defeat the Sun Devils 10-6 in the College World Series on Tuesday night -- yet another strange path to victory for No. 1-seeded Texas.

"You just go along for the ride, man," Garrido said. "This is like going to the rodeo and riding one of those bulls. You try to stay on for eight seconds. You know it's going to buck you off sooner or later, but you try to stay on for the ride."

The ride has been bumpy, but the Longhorns are 2-0 in the CWS and in control of Bracket 2. They need one more win to reach next week's best-of-three championship round. They'll play either ASU (50-13) or North Carolina (48-17) on Friday.

The Tar Heels, who defeated Southern Mississippi 11-4 in an elimination game, play the Sun Devils on Thursday.

In Bracket 1, Arkansas (40-23) plays Virginia (49-14-1) in a Wednesday elimination game. The winner moves to a Friday game against LSU (53-16).

Rupp started Texas' comeback against ASU with a three-run homer off Leake in the fourth inning, and he slugged Mitchell Lambson's first pitch of the seventh inning over the right-field wall to give the Longhorns the lead.

"For the team to find a way to win," Garrido said, "was nothing short of a miracle."

In regionals, the Longhorns came back from four runs down in the ninth inning to beat Army, then they won the longest game in NCAA history by beating Boston College in 25 innings.

They used small ball and the long ball to beat TCU in super regionals, and then they prevailed in a walk-fest to beat Southern Mississippi in their CWS opener Sunday.

Down 6-0 after the third inning Tuesday, Garrido gathered his players and told them they weren't out of it -- even though they were going against the best pitcher in the country who isn't No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg of San Diego State.

"We've scored 11 runs in an inning, eight runs in an inning. Six? We can do it," Rupp said. "We went out and left everything that happened the first three innings behind us and went out and finished the game."

An anticipated pitchers duel between the nation's top two staffs never materialized. Arizona State came in with a 2.76 ERA, and Texas was at 2.86.

Jungmann's performance offset a miserable start by Chance Ruffin and two errors by a Texas defense ranked first in the nation. Jungmann (10-3) struck out six and walked one to earn his second win in relief at the CWS.

Leake, the No. 8 overall pick by the Cincinnati Reds and the Pac-10 pitcher of the year, had come in with a 1.36 ERA, second only to Strasburg.

The six runs were the most given up this season by Leake, whose 3 1-3-inning outing marked the shortest of his 17 starts. He gave up eight hits and walked two.

"I've got so much going through my mind right now," Leake said. "I'll think about it and put it behind me. Right now, I couldn't tell you what it was."

In North Carolina's win, Dustin Ackley went 5 for 6 and became the CWS' career hits leader as the Tar Heels sent Southern Miss coach Corky Palmer into retirement.

Ackley has 27 hits in 14 CWS games. The No. 2 overall draft pick by the Seattle Mariners, in his bid to become the second player to have six hits in a CWS game, flew out to left in the ninth inning.

Ackley doubled and hit four singles to all parts of the field. It was the kind of performance put up in the 1990s by Cal State Fullerton's Mark Kotsay, who batted a combined .517 in two CWS appearances.

"The guy can just flat-out hit," Eagles' second baseman James Ewing said of Ackley. "We always heard about him, but to watch him, the guy hits the ball where it's pitched. He's got great hand-eye coordination. You can't strike him out. The only time we got him out, that ball was hit really hard, also. So we were fortunate to get him out one time. That was a show he put on for us."

The left handed-batting first baseman, who has hits in 21 consecutive NCAA tournament games since 2007, singled to left in the third inning to break the record of 24 career hits by Stanford's Sam Fuld (2001-03).

Ryan Graepel added four hits, Ben Bunting had three, and Kyle Seager homered as Carolina banged out a CWS record-tying 23 hits. "

My worst fears came true," Palmer said. "Carolina is a great club. They can pitch, hit, defense. I was hoping I'd be wrong, but I really worried about our matchup. Seven left-handed hitters in there, and we didn't have an answer."

North Carolina's Adam Warren (10-2) allowed three hits and struck out six in six innings. JR Ballinger (6-4) was down 6-0 when he left with two outs in the third, marking the shortest of his 16 starts this season.

      QUICK HEADLINES | MORE SPORTS | GET NEWS ALERTS
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ABC13 SOCIAL NETWORKING
Find us on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter | More social networking
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MORE FROM ABC13
ABC13 widget | Most popular stories | Sports blog
ABC13 wireless | Slideshow archive | Send us your sports story tips
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Load Comments