AUSTIN -- The fourth ranked University of Texas Longhorns baseball team scored a pair of runs in the eighth inning to break-up a 2-2 tie to sneak past the University of Texas-Pan American Broncs 4-2 Tuesday night at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. The loss extends the UTPA losing streak to three games. The Longhorns (28-9) have now won two in a row.
The Broncs (16-13) held a 2-0 lead in the early moments of the contest pounding out five of their six hits in the first three innings
Texas-Pan American scored their first run in the opening half innings thanks to three Bronc hits. Andy Fortuna bunted the first pitch of the game to throw off the Texas defense to reach with leadoff single. Fortuna was thrown out at second attempting to steal. Roger Bernal then doubled down the right field line to stand at second with a one out double. After Angel Ibaņez grounded out to third and a Vinne Mejia walk, Mike McCarthy singled up the middle to score Bernal to give UTPA a 1-0 lead.
The Broncs kept the offense churning in the second with a lead off triple by Iradier Hernandez to the gap in right center field. After a Colton Van Komen walk, the night ended early for Texas starter Austin Dicharry who was making his first appearance of the season. After an Adrian De La Rosa strikeout, Fortuna bunted to the pitcher on a squeeze play to score Hernandez to give the Broncs a 2-0 lead after two.
The Longhorns would score four unanswered, including the two in the eighth to come back in a game where Bronc starter Kyle Kotchie pitched strong and the defense did not commit an error.
The Texas rally began in the third as Brandon Loy doubled to the gap in left center, scoring Paul Montalbano who reached with a two-out walk to cut the Longhorn deficit in half at 2-1.
The score remained 2-1 until the sixth, when Longhorn right-fielder Mark Payton began his late game heroics. Payton snuck a double down the right field line to lead off the frame and scored the tying run on a Erich Weiss double to left. The Longhorns and Broncs would stay tied 2-2 until the bottom of the eighth.
Payton came up with a runner on second and one out in the eighth inning and blasted a ground-rule double over the wall down the right-field line to score the would-be winning run in the form of Paul Montalbano. Cohl Walla hit a pinch-hit, two-out RBI single to score Payton for the Texas insurance run.
Kotchie (L, 1-3), for the second season takes the tough luck loss against the Longhorns allowing all four runs in 7.2 innings of work walking three and striking out two. Kotchie allowed just one run on three hits in the first five innings. Kendal Carrillo (W, 3-0) pitched a perfect eighth inning to pick up the victory in relief. Corey Knebel struck out two in a perfect ninth to pick up his 12th of the season for the Longhorns.
The Broncs return to Great West Conference action this Friday when they travel to face Northern Colorado for the opener of a four-game weekend series. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 PM in Greeley, Colo.