Longhorn fans were ready for this. They didn’t simply wait a few more hours than expected because of lightning delays that impacted the loser bracket’s game earlier. No, the 6,981 in attendance, easily the biggest crowd in a long time, and probably a thousand more tailgating just outside the stadium waited years for this. They were ready. They were into every single pitch. They created one of the best and loudest UFCU Disch-Falk atmospheres ever, and they made a noticeable impact.
“They were going crazy. I think they made a difference in the game for sure,” said Zach Zubia about the home crowd. “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.”
No offense to them, but they didn’t matter as much as the guy taking the hill for No. 2 overall seed Texas (44-15). They might have rattled ASU starter Justin Fall and the defense behind him, but they couldn’t throw any pitches or swing any bat. Fortunately for all those fans, Ty Madden was ready too. He set the tone, and Zach Zubia delivered the big blow with a fourth-inning swing. The Longhorns beat Arizona State 10-3 and those fans tonight could see their team punch a Super Regional ticket tomorrow.
“Like we’ve said all year, we’re still young. We’re not perfect, but we never give up and keep playing. So, that’s what we did,” said David Pierce about the win tonight. “We got to clean up a couple things, but just a great night. That’s a pivotal game in the regionals to win that game and go 2-0. So now, we don’t take anything for granted. But same time, it’s a lot more comforting knowing that we get a little rest and get ready to go with Pete tomorrow.”
The Sun Devils (33-21) did their best to gift Texas some early runs. However, the Longhorns, in a very frustrating way, squandered those opportunities. Bad defense allowed Texas to put runners on first and third with no outs in the first inning. Zubia and Ivan Melendez both struck out before Cam Williams grounded out to waste the prime opportunity.
With one out in the second inning, Trey Faltine stole second on first move and aggressively advanced to third base when the throw to second from first trickled into the outfield. Silas Ardoin walked, which put runners on the corners with one out. Dylan Campbell, again the starter in left field against the left-handed starting pitcher, is tough to turn a double play on. However, ASU erased the threat with an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
Texas, with the help of nearly 7,000 friends, finally broke through with a three-run bottom of the third inning. Mike Antico, Zubia and Melendez walked to load the bases with one out. Williams was hit by a pitch to put Texas on the scoreboard, and Douglas Hodo followed with another run-scoring free pass. As Texas fans watched a bunch of pitches fail to generate strike calls, they grew louder and louder; at one point, ASU sent a group of pitchers and catchers sprinting to its bullpen during the inning, which resulted in a deafening roar from Texas fans, including those down the left field line waving them on…