Longhorn baseball walks off in extra innings in Red River classic

Vicente Montalvo

In the bottom of the eleventh inning, freshman infielder Mitchell Daly managed to stay patient and draw a critical walk. With two outs and the game on the line, redshirt freshman outfielder Douglas Hodo III slammed a breaking ball into a gap in center field, sending Daly home to lift the Longhorns to a 4-3 walk-off victory.

“Just a great job from Doug to come up with a big game winning hit,” head coach David Pierce said.

Hodo, who grew up a Longhorn after his father was part of Texas’ 1983 national championship team, knew how big of a moment this was for him and his family.

“Growing up knowing to hate the Sooners and the Aggies made this one a little more special,” Hodo said.

In the last 14 Red River Rivalry contests, the Longhorns and Sooners have been split evenly, so it only seemed fitting that the Friday contest would be decided in extra innings.

Redshirt sophomore pitcher Ty Madden, who has been extremely reliable out of the gate this season, struggled early on. Madden gave up two runs in the first before settling into a groove as the game wore on.

Madden got through six full innings with only six hits, three of which came after the first inning, while giving up two runs and striking out six Sooners.

“Even when (Madden is) not as sharp, we know what we’re going to get,” Pierce said. “He’s going to be a bulldog on the mound. Give you everything he has.”

The Longhorns’ offense came alive in the second inning to take an early lead as redshirt junior infielder Zac Zubia smashed his second home run of the season to put Texas on the scoreboard. Shortly after, a pair of Longhorn batters crossed the plate and gave Texas a 3-2 lead.

However, the Longhorns still struggled as an offensive group. Texas finished with seven hits and stranded eight runners on base. But the Longhorns managed to force Oklahoma coach Skip Johnson’s hand, burning through five Sooner pitchers.

Texas blew its one-run lead it had been nursing since the second inning when freshman pitcher Tanner Witt’s throw to first sailed wide of the first baseman, allowing an Oklahoma runner to advance to third. Minutes later, the tying Sooner run came across after Witt’s wild pitch snuck past the catcher to tie the game at 3-3.

Hodo took care of the rest.

The Longhorns took game one of the three-game series in one of the most competitive Red River Rivalry games in recent history, but Texas isn’t done yet. The Longhorns will look to build on Friday night’s momentum in Saturday’s 5 p.m. contest.

Hodo said if the team continues to trust in each other, Texas has potential to be a special team.

“We have the same trust (in) everyone through nine (innings),” Hodo said. “If we continue to earn that trust, we’re going to be a dangerous offense.”