Clemens, Shugart lead Texas past Tennessee Tech, 4-2
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The most dangerous offensive team in the country was rendered harmless on Sunday.
Tennessee Tech managed just three hits, a season-low, against Texas pitchers Chase Shugart and Blair Henley as the Longhorns won 4-2 to even their NCAA Tournament best-of-three super regional series at one victory apiece.
Game 3 is on Monday.
All-American Kody Clemens drove in two runs, one with his 23rd home run of the season for Texas (41-21).
Tech (53-11) leads the nation in several categories, including runs (more than 10 a game) and home runs.
The Golden Eagles managed two hits and one unearned run in six innings against Shugart (6-3). The three total hits in the game were Tech’s fewest since Feb. 27, 2015, when they had one hit against Northern Illinois.
“The guy was dynamite,” Tech coach Matt Bragga said. “Their pitchers were phenomenal. But I think we were a little bit tight.”
Shugart threw 99 pitches, striking out five against five walks.
“Going into today, coach (David Pierce) just said empty the tank,” Shugart said. ”‘If we have to go to Blair in the fifth we’ll go to Blair in the fifth.’ Their hitters did a really good job of fighting off 0-2 pitches and getting deep into the count. It was really driving me nuts, but they’re a good hitting team.”
The Longhorns jumped ahead 2-0 after two innings. Clemens lined a double to right center to drive in a run in the first. Ryan Reynolds hit a bloop opposite field double to left that gave Texas a 2-0 lead in the second inning.
The Golden Eagles, home team for Game 2, cut the deficit in half in the second with a single, walk and throwing error by Clemens while trying to complete a double play.
Clemens didn’t take long to atone; he slugged a solo home run off losing pitcher Travis Moths (13-3) with one out in the third for a 3-1 lead.
“We may walk him every time tomorrow,” Bragga said.
Texas added a fourth run with an RBI single by Tate Shaw in the seventh inning.
Shugart walked two batters in the sixth, putting runners on first and second with one out, Chase Chambers and Trevor Putzig hit benign fly balls to end the inning.
Henley, a front-line starter making his first relief appearance of the season, replaced Shugart in the seventh. He was greeted by David Garza, who hit his 17th home run of the season but the first for Tennessee Tech in two games here. Henley picked up a save.