Texas ends 14-inning thriller in walk-off fashion

Jon Parrett

The Longhorns sure know how to end a slow-paced game with excitement.

Texas (15-5, 3-0) needed 14 innings to win 6-5 and close out the series sweep of Kansas State (12-7, 0-3) on Sunday. With the final run coming on a two-out RBI double from Brandon Loy that fell just fair along the right-field line. Tim Maitland singled the previous at-bat and scored the winning run from first base.

“The wind blew the ball back onto the field and down, keeping it away from the right fielder,” said Texas head coach Augie Garrido. “It wasn’t his mistake as much as it happened to be high enough and in an open spot where the wind was getting to it.”

Wildcat right fielder Mike Kindel decided to throw to second instead of home to get Loy out before Maitland crossed home plate, but he was not in time.

Loy started the scoring off in the third inning, when he tripled to left-center, scoring Jordan Etier from second base. But Kansas State quickly responded, scoring three runs of its own in the fourth inning. Cole Green started for Texas and gave up four hits and two earned runs in 4.2 innings.

“I wasn’t happy with the way I pitched,” Green said. “A couple balls could have gone a couple different ways, and it could’ve been a totally different story. It’s just part of the game, and I just need to bounce back and learn from it.”

Andrew McKirahan came in to pitch with runners on the corners and two outs remaining in the fifth, and he surrendered an RBI single on his second pitch. Then a balk put both runners in scoring position, but the junior got Jason King to pop up to end the inning.

Texas entered the seventh inning trailing 5-1, but Tant Shepherd led off with a triple to right center field, and Etier brought him home with a single to left field that just cleared shortstop Tanner Witt’s glove. Texas loaded the bases with a Loy single and a walk by Mark Payton, and cut into the deficit with a bases-loaded walk by Erich Weiss that scored Etier. Cohl Walla tied the game two batters later on a single to left center that scored Loy and Payton. Walla is hitting 3-for-5 with seven RBIs with bases loaded this season.

“A lot of times, guys get over-aggressive at the plate and want to knock all the runs in, and you’ve got to stay relaxed,” Walla said. “I’m just not putting too much pressure on myself, looking for a good pitch, looking for a pitch I can hit.”

Texas had a chance to complete the comeback in the ninth with the bases loaded for Jordan Etier, but the junior lined out to third base to end the threat, resulting in extra innings.

The two teams traded scoreless innings until the 14th, when Loy hit the game-winning RBI.

“I didn’t know if it was going to be fair or foul. When I saw I hit it fair, I was just busting it,” Loy said. “I thought they held Maitland at third, and I just happened to look, and I saw him running down the line, and I knew it was over.”