AUSTIN, Texas — The sea of burnt orange and white surrounding home plate at UFCU Disch-Falk Field said it all.
As the Texas baseball team hooped and hollered around second baseman Mitchell Daly late Friday night, there was evidence that something special had occurred, as the Horns pulled out a dramatic walk-off 4-3 victory over Oklahoma in the first game of the weekend series.
The baseball version of the Red River Showdown lived up to its expectations in a contest that was close from start to finish, as Texas moved to 16-6 on the season and 3-1 in Big 12 play. Oklahoma, playing its first conference game of the season, dropped to 12-9 overall.
The play of the game was also the contest's final play, as right fielder Douglas Hodo III stepped to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning and the score tied, 3-3, and Daly standing on first base after drawing a walk. On a 1-2 count, Hodo ripped a double deep into center field as Daly raced around the diamond, his eyes set on home plate. The long line drive was fielded poorly by the Sooners as Daly slid headfirst across the plate without challenge, scoring the game-winning run. It was the first win in extra-innings for the Longhorns this season.
Oklahoma scored first, challenging Longhorns starter Ty Madden early, with a two-run first. Madden allowed a single to third baseman Peyton Graham to open the game, and the Sooners' leadoff hitter wasted no time putting Oklahoma on the board, scoring on a wild pitch two batters later. Catcher Jimmy Crooks singled and made the lead 2-0, scoring from second on a double by first baseman Tyler Hardman.
Madden soon settled down, ended the inning on a swinging strikeout, and avoided any further trouble from Oklahoma's bats in six innings of work. He allowed six hits, but made up for it with six strikeouts, and walked just two batters.
The climatic ending was set up by a strong second inning from the Longhorns. Texas scored three of its four runs in the second, highlighted by a solo home run from first baseman Zach Zubia to begin the frame. Three of the next four at-bats resulted in hits, with shortstop Trey Faltine scoring on a Daly double to put Texas in front, 2-0. Hodo followed with a base hit of his own, driving a single to left field that scored Daly from second.
Reliever Tanner Witt replaced Madden in the top of the seventh, and surrendered the lead in the eighth, throwing a wild pitch that allowed Crooks to score from third. With the score tied, 3-3, the bullpens took over, neither giving much ground, as just three total hits were recorded over the final three innings.
Cole Quintanilla (3-0) earned the win after firing two-thirds of an inning of scoreless, hitless work. He struck out both batters he faced in the top of the 11th, setting the stage for Hodo's walk-off heroics in the bottom of the inning.
Hodo and Daly each finished the day with two hits. Hodo also had a team-high two runs batted in and Daly scored half of UT's runs.
Texas and Oklahoma return to action Saturday afternoon, in a 5 p.m. game that can be seen on Longhorn Network. Tristan Stevens (2-1, 3.49 earned run average) is expected to start for Texas against Oklahoma left-hander Jake Bennett (3-1, 4.32 ERA).