Texas head coach Augie Garrido has no idea where it came from, but the Longhorns’ fifth inning rally, which broke up a no-hitter, was timely and turned the flow of the ballgame 180 degrees.
“The offensive rally kind of came out of nowhere,” Garrido said. “But that’s typical of no-hitters, though; you’re going so well and one thing happens and the domino drops out of nowhere.”
In this case, the domino was a Jordan Etier single up the middle, but that only came after four innings of solid pitching from Kansas starter Thomas Taylor.
The first time through the lineup, the Texas hitters weren’t making much happen, they were making weak contact and the only base runners in the four innings came off a trio of walks. Taylor was a little wild with his location, and the Texas hitters were working long counts, but they just weren’t making good contact.
That all changed in the fifth inning.
In the beginning of the fifth, it looked like more of the same for the Longhorns as freshman Brooks Marlow quickly grounded out. But from there, a combination of timely hitting and patience at the plate resulted in a Texas lead.
The rally started with a Kevin Lusson five pitch walk, but even then Taylor had yet to give up a hit. That all changed on the very next pitch when Texas’ nine-hole hitter, Etier, smoked a line drive up the middle. It broke up the no-hitter and, more importantly, gave Texas multiple base runners for the first time all game.
“Jordan’s hit really did get things going for us, it was key,” sophomore Erich Weiss said.
Next up was Payton, and he did what he has done all season long — get on base. He reached first on a five pitch walk, his third of the game.
After that, freshman Taylor Stell strolled up to the plate with the bases loaded, and lifted a bloop single that went just over the shortstops’ glove for the first Texas run of the game.
Then with the bases loaded, Weiss opened up the flood gates with a hard hit ball into right field for a run scoring double on a ball that almost left the yard for a grand slam.
After that, Jonathan Walsh added the fourth run of the inning with a deep sacrifice fly to right field that allowed Stell to tag up from third and score.
So if Garrido doesn’t know what happened to start up the rally, who does? Etier had a pretty good solution: toughness at the plate and the willingness to grind out at bats.
“We just continued to fight and grind it out,” Etier said. “There was a lot of gut during those [at-bats], and that’s what brought it around for all of us.”
Printed on Monday, April 23, 2012 as: Etier ends UT drought, sparks fifth inning rally