OMAHA, Neb. (KXAN) — Ivan Melendez delivered the go-ahead single in the eighth inning and senior Zach Zubia busted the game open to keep Texas in the College World Series with a win over Virginia Thursday night/Friday morning.
The Longhorns survived another night in Omaha, defeating Virginia 6-2 to advance to the semifinals Friday night against Mississippi State. Texas must beat the Bulldogs twice to win its bracket and advance to the College World Series championship series set to start Monday.
Texas lost to Mississippi State in the College World Series opener Sunday, striking out 21 total times against the Bulldogs pitching staff. The Longhorns will have to beat those pitchers if they want to play for the championship.
First, Texas can briefly celebrate the clutch hitting of Melendez and Zubia.
With the game tied at two in the eighth inning, Melendez hit a grounder through the middle of the infield, scoring Mike Antico for the 3-2 Texas lead.
Pitching and defense brought Texas to this point in the season. The Longhorns used both to escape an eighth inning jam.
Texas head coach David Pierce brought in closer Aaron Nixon with one out and a runner on first. Nixon hit Kyle Teel with his first pitch to put runners on first and second, but coaxed the next Cavaliers batter, Brendan Rivoli, into an inning-ending double play.
Zubia stretched into the splits to close out the play and keep Texas in the lead.
In the ninth inning, Zubia’s bat gave Texas breathing room to close out the Cavaliers. With the bases full of Longhorns and two outs, Zubia hammered a 3-2 pitch into the left-center gap to clear the bases and give Texas a 6-2 lead.
Zubia was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts entering the ninth inning at-bat.
Nixon closed out the bottom of the ninth with relative ease for Texas’ second win at the CWS this week.
Originally scheduled to start at 6 p.m., the game was delayed for nearly four hours due to storms around TD Ameritrade Park. First pitch actually came around 9:45 p.m. local time.
Texas was walking off the field as the clock struck 1 a.m. local time. They have 17 hours until first pitch against Mississippi State Friday.
The Bulldogs advanced through the winner’s side of the bracket Tuesday and will be fully rested for the Longhorns. Pete Hansen started the game for Texas, going 5.2 innings. His only blemish was a two-run homer to Chris Newell in the fifth inning.
Melendez scored the Longhorns’ first run of the game on a Douglas Hodo III single in the second inning.
How to watch Texas vs. Mississippi State
No. 2 Texas vs. No. 7 Mississippi State
When: Friday at 6 p.m.
Where: TD Ameritrade Park (Omaha, Nebraska)
Listen: 104.9 FM The Horn/1260 AM