— The home runs by Campbell and Hodo on Saturday made them the sixth and seventh Longhorns to reach double-digit home runs on the season. The offensive surge on the Forty Acres, Pierce said, boils down to “just passing the bat, getting pitches, not trying to do too much and using their strength and conditioning, using their work in the cages and just trusting.”
Texas unquestionably has pop throughout the lineup, but every significant hit down the stretch of Saturday’s game going to right field for right-handed hitters speaks to how good the team’s approach is at the plate and to the adjustments made throughout the series.
“We’re just seeing it where it’s pitched,” Campbell said. “Some of their guys on their staff like to go away, so we’re just taking it where it was pitched.”
Texas: 1. Douglas Hodo III, Soph., CF (.316/.409/.533); 2. Eric Kennedy, Jr., LF (.308/.395/.491) ; 3. Ivan Melendez, Jr., 1B (.398/.518/.866); 4. Murphy Stehly, Sr., 2B (.376/.431/.680); 5. Austin Todd, Sr., DH (.337/.419/.497); 6. Skyler Messinger (.367/.419/.574); 7. Silas Ardoin, Soph., C (.276/.399/.518); 8. Dylan Campbell, Soph., RF (.271/.369/.512); 9. Trey Faltine, Soph., SS (.283/.396/.552)
— Pierce keeps the lineup the same for the second game in a row. Stehly at second base and Campbell in right field mean Mitchell Daly (.238/.349/.369) will come off the bench, most likely to come in for defensive purposes at second if the Longhorns get a lead in the late innings.
East Carolina: 1. Zach Agnos, Soph., SS (.326/.398/.477); 2. Lane Hoover, Jr., LF (.343/.426/.418); 3. Bryson Worrell, Sr., CF (.338/.403/.638); 4. Jacob Jenkins-Cowart, Fr., RF (.330/.369/.552); 5. Ben Newton, Sr., C (.283/.387/.362); 6. Josh Moylan, Soph., 1B (.219/.355/.417); 7. Jacob Starling, Soph., 2B (.248/.386/.411); 8. Alec Makarewicz, Soph., 3B (.273/.350/.469); 9. Joey Berini, Soph., DH (.245/.321/.265)
— Godwin’s only lineup change is Berini at the designated hitter spot for Justin Wilcoxen (.276/.327/.398). A change could be made if Godwin gets a matchup with the left-handed Wilcoxen facing Texas freshman southpaw Luke Harrison (0-0, 3.24 ERA with two saves), the only left-handed reliever for the Longhorns (and the only lefty pitcher other than No. 2 starter Lucas Gordon on the postseason roster).
PITCH MATCH UP
Texas: Tristan Stevens, Sr., RHP (6-6, 5.16 ERA, 75 innings, 83 hits and 20 walks allowed with 65 strikeouts)
— Pierce has said time and again that there’s nobody he trusts more in a big spot than Stevens, who’s making his 25th appearance of the season and his 12th start. The fifth-year senior hasn’t started a game since an April 30 loss to Oklahoma State where went 5.2 innings, allowing six earned runs on six hits with two walks, two hit batters and a balk while striking out eight. Stevens officially thrown 0.1 innings over two the first two games in Greenville, allowing four runs on three hits with two walks, one wild pitch and one strikeout.
East Carolina: Danny Beal, Soph., RHP (5-1, 4.03 ERA, 38 innings, 31 hits and 20 walks allowed with 40 strikeouts)
— Beal pitched in Saturday’s game, recording two outs on eight pitches. Sunday’s outing marks his 30th appearance of the season, but it’s only his second start.
— At 3:31 pm local time, it’s announced that there’s lightning in the area. Texas and East Carolina are both sent to their respective locker rooms and the stadium has been cleared of spectators. That goes for “The Jungle” beyond the outfield walls of Clark-LeClair Stadium, which has been cleared out by security and law enforcement.
— There’s no word in the press box on when the delay will end, but officials conduct an on-field meeting with Pierce and Godwin that ends at 4:06 pm local time, which is the game’s original start time.
— At 4:23 pm local time, fans are welcomed back into the stadium and the teams are allowed back on the field to warm up. The game is on with a scheduled 5:05 pm first pitch.
— Hodo pulls his bat back on a bunt attempt for a first-pitch ball by Beal at 5:06 pm local time. On Beal’s third pitch of the game, Hodo smacks one up the middle, beating the shift with Starling unable to get over in time to retire Hodo at first base. It’s an infield single for Hodo and Texas has the leadoff man on base for Kennedy.
— Hodo steals second base to put himself in scoring position, but it’ll be up to someone else to drive him in as Kennedy reaches base on a walk. Kennedy’s free pass ends an eight-pitch at-bat, putting two on with no outs for Melendez.
— There’s a new Division I single-season record holder for home runs in the BBCOR era. It was Kris Bryant with 31 in 2013, but Melendez’s 32nd home run of the season is a laser over the left-field wall and into the jungle for a three-run bomb. The Longhorns snag the early lead with Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s National Player of the Year doing the damage.
Texas 3, East Carolina 0
— Beal plunks Stehly, which is the fourth Longhorn in a row he’s put on base with Todd, the No. 5 hitters, coming to the plate. That’s the end of the day for Beal, who fails to record on 17 pitches. Righty Trey Yesavage (1-0, 3.60 ERA with two saves) is the first ECU bullpen hand to be called to the mound.
— Todd’s sacrifice bunt moves Stehly into scoring position. Messinger battles back from down 0-2 in the count, slapping a single to left over the outstretched glove of Makarewicz at third base. Stehly rounds third and Pierce sends him home with no play at the plate to open up a four-run lead for the Longhorns.
Texas 4, East Carolina 0
— At 5:25 pm local time, the game is paused and enters a weather delay. The grounds crew unrolls the tarp and puts it over the infield as fans file out of the stadium. When the game resumes, Ardoin will be in the box in a 1-0 count and one out with Messinger on first base and the Longhorns looking to add to a four-run lead.
— After a meeting on the field with tournament officials, Godwin and Pierce, the grounds crew removes the tarp from the field at 6:22 pm local time. There’s been no word yet on when play will resume.
— At 6:26 pm local time, the tarp is put back on and an announcement is made that the game remains delayed. However, fans are allowed to return to their seats inside the stadium.