The last Texas Baseball game

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Skyler Messinger hits Grand Slam Home Run
Skyler Messinger hits Grand Slam Home Run (photo Jose Mendez / Horns Illustrated)

AUSTIN, Texas — The best way to describe the last game of the 2022 regular season for Texas Baseball at UFCU Disch-Falk field is think, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.

On a hot and humid sunny afternoon May 21 No. 22 Texas Baseball hosted Kansas for the third and final game of the series and regular 2022 season.

Before the game started, coach Pierce stood just off home plate along the first base line and congratulated 10 of his senior players before they faced the crowd of family, friends, and fans. This potentially was their last game on the field depending if Texas is selected to host in the postseason. 

2022 Texas Baseball Seniors
2022 Texas Baseball Seniors in order: #5 Skyler Messinger, #36 Daniel Blair, #46 Marcus Olivarez, #56 Justin Eckhardt, #45 Coy Cobb, #30 Eric Kennedy, #17 Ivan Melendez, #14 Murphy Stehly, #35 Tristan Stevens, #44 Austin Todd (photo Jose Mendez / Horns Illustrated)

Texas had taken the first two games of the series 12-4 and 8-1, so it was apparent they would sweep the series, but that did not become apparent until the bottom of the eighth inning.

The game started to take a turn in the top of the fifth inning. Kansas now up 5-0 after Kansas’ Jack Hammond walks on a ball that looks like a strike by all counts, including instant replay, and Tom Lichty hits a single to left that bounced past Eric Kennedy to the wall, scoring two more for Kansas.

Then Cooper McMurray walked and the crowd was furious because of the calls and now Kansas has the bases loaded. Coach Pierce walks up to the home plate umpire and has a discussion. Texas brings in Luke Harrison of Friendswood, Texas to pitch for Tristan Stevens. The home plate umpire stops the game.

Coach Pierce commented in postgame that the umpire had said to Texas catcher Silas Ardoin that he could not see the ball. A Texas medical trainer sprints on the field and escorted the home plate umpire Jon Wolfe off the field where he was placed on a stretcher and given an IV.

Likely, the Texas heat and humidity was a factor. At the time, it was 96° degrees and it felt like 102°. A storm was heading toward Austin to arrive in two hours around 6:30 p.m.

Austin Texas weather May 21 4:29 pm

The drama continued in the bottom of the fifth inning when Trey Faltine was hit by a pitch right after Mitchell Daly hit a solo home run to make the score 5-1, Kansas. Kansas’ pitcher and Faltine exchanged words and when the two started to walk toward each other, the home plate and first base umpires had to escort each player to their positions back on the mound and first base for Faltine. 

Faltine would eventually score after Ivan Melendez hit a sacrifice fly to center field. 

Texas pitcher Jared Southard took the mound in the 6th and retired the side with two strikeouts against Kansas. On the last called strike, Ardoin throws the ball to third baseman Skyler Messinger like he normally does after every strike out. Words were exchanged between Kansas and Texas players as they transitioned off the field and the next thing we see is both dugouts semi empty. 

Apparently, words were said to Messinger as he trotted off the field and he simply responded by taking his index finger and underlined the word on the front of his jersey, Texas.

Quickly, both teams returned to their dugouts without incident to start the bottom of the sixth with the score 5-2 with Kansas in the lead.

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During the bottom of the sixth when everything seemed to have settled down, the first base umpire stops the game, walks toward the pitching mound, points to the Kansas dugout and throws out one of the players. Everyone in the press box is looking around and we hear in a loud voice, “What just happened?” 

Nobody knows exactly what the player said or did, but it caught the eye of the umpire all the way across the field on first base. Other than that, the sixth inning for both teams went hitless.

The seventh inning Kansas applied pressure loading up the bases with two outs, but did not score. In the bottom of the seventh, Texas metaphorically said, “Hold my beer.”

As the inning started, inside the press box three voices rang out in unison, “We lost our feed!” Several monitors that analytics watch to call the game turned blue, no signal. A few moments later from a distance someone says, “the production truck reportedly is on fire, they told all of us to evacuate.”

Other than the TV crews and fans watching on TV, nobody knew the TV feed was dropped. Baseball continued without delay. We all lamented, “but what if Ivan Melendez hits his 29th HR for the record it won’t be televised?”

Faltine struck out, Hodo III popped out, and Eric Kennedy was hit by a pitch. Melendez singled, then Murphy Stehly singled, allowing Kennedy to score. Austin Todd walks giving Texas a bases load situation with two out with Skyler Messinger at the plate. 

Messenger takes the first pitch, a ball. The next pitch was not so lucky and Messinger sent it over the left field fence for a {{{{GRAND SLAM HOME RUN}}}} to give Texas the lead 7-5. Thankfully, LHN had well rehearsed backup plans and video recording of the game was never interrupted, just delayed being transmitted over the airwaves.

The top of the eighth, Kansas scored one more when Tom Lichty hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Maui Ahuna.

Texas turned up the volume in the bottom of the eighth. Trey Faltine walked, then reached second on a wild pitch. Eric Kennedy hit the third pitch out of the park in right center, scoring Faltine and himself. Murphy Stehly then sends one ‘out of here’ in left field for another home run. Austin Todd said, “I can do that too.” and sent one ‘out of here in the same place Stehly did making the score 11-6 Texas. 

No. 22 Texas Baseball wins the game 11-6 and sweeps Kansas for the series to give Texas a 39-17 season (Big 12: 14-10). The final game also marked the 13th time UFCU Disch-Falk field was sold out with 7,297.

No. 5 seed Texas will play No. 4 seed Oklahoma State on May 25 (WED) at 9 a.m. for the first game in Arlington, Texas Globe Life Field for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.

Photo Gallery by Jose Mendez / Horns Illustrated

Terry Middleton

I like exploring the why's and have three objectives. First is to give value to those who would spend time with our content. Second is to be respectful of others and for the opportunity to tell a positive story about all of the Texas Longhorns teams, players, and coaches regardless of their record. Lastly, to put wind in the sails of others using the Horns Illustrated platform. Life is GOOD!

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