No. 1 national seed Texas was in trouble. The scoreless Longhorns trailed Arizona State by six runs after three innings. The Sun Devils also had their ace, All-American and Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year Mike Leake, on the bump.
Texas coach Augie Garrido gathered his team around him in the dugout in the top of the fourth inning for a quick pep talk.The Longhorns were all ears, especially Cameron Rupp. Rupp’s three-run homer ignited a six-run fourth inning and his solo blast in the seventh snapped a tie game and helped lead Texas past Arizona State 10-6 Tuesday night in the College World Series.
“Baseball creates enough adversity as any sport can,” Garrido said.
“We added to it tenfold both offensively and defensively.To win that game tonight (Tuesday) was nothing short of a miracle. They played the game from pitch to pitch. It was rough, ugly, but it got done.”
Texas joins LSU as the lone undefeated teams in the double-elimination tournament, and the pair won’t play again until Friday. Arkansas meets Virginia in an elimination game Wednesday for the opportunity to face LSU, while the Arizona State-North Carolina winner Thursday plays Texas.
LSU and Texas each need one win to advance to next week’s best-of-three championship round. Cal State Fullerton and Southern Miss were eliminated in two games.
A highly-anticipated pitcher’s duel never materialized between the Longhorns and Sun Devils.
Texas jumped on Leake for six runs in the fourth and finished with 15 hits in a game that lasted four hours, four minutes — the fourth-longest, nine-inning game in CWS history.
Leake, the No. 8 pick by the Cincinnati Reds in last week’s major league draft who entered with a 1.36 ERA, lasted just 3 1/3 innings. It was his shortest outing in 17 starts. Texas sophomore Chance Ruffin was knocked out with none out in the third for the shortest start of his career.
“With Mike Leake on the mound and a six-run lead, we felt pretty good about ourselves,” ASU coach Pat Murphy said.
“First of all you have to give Texas credit. They put the bat on the ball and got some timely hits. Not sure exactly what happened, but his stuff wasn’t his normal sinking stuff. But they got some timely hits, and that’s what happens.”
Garrido downplayed his talk with the Longhorns in the fourth inning, instead crediting his players. After Rupp’s second home run put Texas in front, Kevin Keyes’ double into the right-center gap and Brandon Loy’s two-run single in the eighth provided insurance for Texas, 40-0-1 when leading after seven innings.
“Whatever I tell the team doesn’t have as much value as how they respond,” Garrido said.
“A better response may be to ask the players what did it leave with them. We gave them a lot of extra outs in those innings. That would have taken the pressure off. That was part of it.”
Rupp translated Garrido’s dugout message.
“Coach called us in and told us that we could do it,” Rupp said. “We had to compete and go play-by-play. We put everything behind us and moved on. He stayed calm; he just told us to put it all behind us.”
The Longhorns have won their last seven games in the CWS dating back to their 2005 national championship. The six-run deficit also represented the largest Texas has overcome this season. With Leake on the mound, the Sun Devils admitted they felt good about their chances. Instead, they saw their seven-game win streak snapped.
“When we were up 6-0, we kind of laid back — we were thinking we would be cruising,” ASU outfielder Kole Calhoun said. “We got Mike Leake on the mound, but we’ve rode him a lot of times.”
Texas freshman Taylor Jungmann (10-3) picked up his second win in relief at the CWS, holding ASU to two hits in 5.2 shutout innings.
“After coach talked to us the guys rallied around each other,” Jungman said. “When we tied it, we knew that we had the win.”