In yet another dramatic postseason contest, an eighth-inning rally fueled UC Irvine to a 3-1 win over Texas in front of a sellout crowd of 23,796 in game one of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., to advance to the winner's bracket.
Texas jumped on the board first in the bottom of the second inning as Collin Shaw led off with a double to right field and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Madison Carter. He later scored off a Zane Gurwtiz’s bunt single to give the Longhorns a 1-0 lead.
Morales struggled in the first few innings but managed to limit the damage and settle down as the game progressed. The All-American, relieved by Evan Manarino who started the seventh, gave up six hits and one earned run while walking three and striking out five.
“I think for us, one of the first keys to our win is that Morales made big pitches to keep the game from getting away from us,” stated Gillespie. “He did what we see him do consistently, comepte and never give in.”
The Anteaters threatened in the first few innings but really were never a problem for the Longhorns until the eighth inning when the bats got hot. A lead-off single by Adam Alcantara was the catalyst for the three-run inning. Justin Castro advanced Alcantara with a sacrifice bunt before Taylor Sparks tripled to deep center field allowing Alcantara to cross home plate, tying the ballgame 1-1. It was Sparks’ NCAA-leading ninth triple of the season.
Back-to-back singles by Chris Rabago and Connor Spencer kept the momentum, scoring Sparks in the process. Jerry McClanahan struck out looking but a two-out single by Munoz drove in Rabago for an insurance run, giving UC Irvine a 3-1 lead.
When asked what he was thinking during his at-bat, Rabago responded “All I was thinking about is I need to get the job done. If I get this hit we win.”