Dylan Cambell plays hero twice in comeback win against ECU in Game 2 of Greenville Super Regional

UT+Baseball+sophomore+Dylan+Campbell+making+his+way+around+the+bases+after+hitting+a+home+run+during+the+Alumni+game+on+Saturday%2C+February+5%2C+2022.

Jonathan Sherchand/The Daily Texan

UT Baseball sophomore Dylan Campbell making his way around the bases after hitting a home run during the Alumni game on Saturday, February 5, 2022.

Jordan Mitchell, Sports Reporter

After East Carolina scored five unanswered runs through three innings of baseball, the Longhorns looked dead in the water and on the brink of elimination.

Fueled by three-hole hitter Bryson Worrell’s bat, the Pirates’ offensive production and shut-out pitching kept Texas from gaining any traction in Game 2 of the Greenville Super Regional at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

Leading 6-2 in the top of the seventh, East Carolina scored another run off an overturned call at home plate. The five-run deficit seemed almost insurmountable with just two innings left to play. 

That is, until redshirt freshman pitcher Andre Duplantier II gave Texas a chance. 

Following a timely two-run homer in the seventh inning from sophomore center fielder Douglas Hodo III, Duplantier approached the mound in the eighth with an ice-cool demeanor, and his three-pitch arsenal helped put down the top of East Carolina’s lineup, keeping the Pirates at bay with a shrunken 7-4 lead.

“He’s got a three pitch mix and they really swing it well against the fastball,” head coach David Pierce said. “Dre was good — I’m really proud of Dre for stepping up.” 

Then, in the bottom half of the inning and with redshirt seniors Murphy Stehly and Austin Todd on the bags, graduate transfer third baseman Skyler Messinger recorded his first hit of the ballgame—a three run bomb that tied the game.

Messinger, who had struggled on the day with an error on a throw to second base and no hits up to that point, erupted into an emotional jog around the bases before embracing his teammates at home plate.

“We just never gave up. We knew our time was coming,” sophomore right fielder Dylan Campbell said. “We never doubted ourselves.”

Just five pitches later, Campbell blasted a 1-0 fastball out to right field. The no-doubt, go-ahead home run gave Texas its first lead since the fifth inning.

Since the Texas-Louisiana Tech matchup in the Austin regional, Campbell has earned himself a consistent spot in the starting lineup. With his four home runs in the NCAA tournament, the outfielder has taken advantage of his opportunities, despite going 0 for 3 in Friday’s Game 1 loss. 

“I knew that there were going to be a lot of people on their feet,” Campbell said. “You have got to want to be in that situation, and I wanted it.”

Duplantier needed three more outs to solidify Texas’ win. He got two, but in East Carolina’s last chance at the plate, second baseman Jacob Starling went deep with a solo shot that tied the game again in the top of the ninth. Duplantier prevented any further damage, setting the stage for the Longhorns to potentially walk it off in the bottom of the ninth. 

“(Campbell) was the first one to come up to me and say, ‘We got you,’” Duplantier said. “I was confident in the team and knew that we were gonna go out there and compete.”

With two outs and the bases loaded, Campbell once again stepped into the batter’s box. With a 1-2 count, Campbell roped another ball deep into right field. The ball floated just over the right fielder’s outstretched arm and hit off the wall, allowing the winning run to score without a challenge.

For the second time in as many innings, Campbell was the hero.

“No matter what the score is or how late in the game it is, we know we are never out of it,” Campbell said. “We just keep fighting until the end.”

The Longhorns now face a winner-take-all Game 3 on Sunday with a trip to Omaha on the line for Texas and East Carolina. After the game, Pierce did not name a starter for tomorrow, but it will likely be an all-hands-on-deck effort from Texas’ pitchers, including redshirt sophomore Pete Hansen, who threw 88 pitches on Friday.

“Every pitcher on our staff is available tomorrow,” Pierce said. “We have two great teams fighting for Omaha. It doesn’t get any better.”