The Longhorns beat LSU 5-1 Tuesday night in the College World Series to force a decisive third game Wednesday for the national title. Texas mixed in the long ball again at Rosenbatt Stadium but it also made the most of its early scoring chances to rebound from Monday's disappointing extra-inning defeat.
Not to be overshadowed, however, was the outstanding effort from Longhorns freshman right-hander Taylor Jungmann. Jungmann (11-3), who made a brief, ineffective relief appearance Monday, turned in a dominating performance to snap the Tigers' 14-game winning streak and set up a winner-take-all finale.
Relying on a nasty fastball and sweeping curve, not to mention a confidence that belies his youth, Jungmann surrendered five hits and fanned nine while only walking two to notch his first complete-game victory. The Tigers averaged 8.4 runs per game during their winning streak and were last held to one run in a 4-1 defeat to Vanderbilt to open the SEC tournament.
"I was staying back. I had a good feel for the ball and I mixed my pitches well," said Jungmann, who threw 126 pitches, 78 strikes, and registered his third CWS victory.
LSU will start co-ace Anthony Ranaudo (11-3, 2.87 ERA) in Wednesday's final, while Texas will counter with Cole Green (5-3, 3.07). The Tigers and Longhorns have combined for 11 national titles. Texas won its last crown in 2005; LSU in 2000. The showdown features the tournament's No. 1 seed in the Longhorns and the nation's top-ranked team as listed by the majority of polls in the Tigers.
"It would have been nice to win tonight obviously and wrap it up but the kid who pitched for them had something to say about us having to stay around for one more day," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said.
"He was really outstanding. We couldn't do much with him. He was mixing his pitches well, he had good velocity, he had a good sinker. It's the first time we lost in 15 games. We are going to put this one behind us and keep our chins up and we have one game left in the season. We have the opportunity to play for the national championship with our Friday night starter on the mound. I think our guys are pretty excited about that."
Tuesday's game was delayed one hour, 34 minutes by a thunderstorm that swept through the area, dropping the temperature from the mid-90s to a far more comfortable 82 degrees. Texas -- and Jungmann -- certainly didn't display any early nerves from facing elimination.
In fact, Longhorns coach Augie Garrido said the rain delay was a Texas blessing.
"It took the temperature down," Garrido said.
"It helped Taylor [Jungmann] finish the game. When we got off the bus, it was steamy. His teammates also got him the lead. It was certainly not a game of perfection, but we've created another bit of drama."
The Longhorns, who squandered leads of 3-1 and 6-4 and wasted five home runs in Monday's 7-6 loss, scored in each of the first three innings to build a 5-1 advantage that Jungmann held firm the rest of the way. He ended the game with a strikeout and an LSU runner on third base. It was the first complete game in the CWS since 2006.
While solo homers from Preston Clark and Russell Moldenhauer accounted for two of Texas' runs, more importantly, Longhorn hitters went 3-for-5 with three RBI with runners in scoring position in the first three innings. Texas was 1-for-13 with runners on base Monday.
After pushing across solo runs in the first and second innings to lead 2-1, Texas went to work in the third.
Moldenhauer homored with one out -- he hit two solo homers Monday and his four homers in five games tied a CWS record. Cameron Rupp then doubled to right after Jared Mitchell failed to make a diving catch. Following a flyout, Connor Rowe doubled down the third-base line to score Rupp and make it 4-1. Preston Clark greeted LSU reliever Nolan Cain with a single to score Rowe for a 5-1 lead.
The Longhorns have hit 14 home runs in the CWS after hitting only 39 in 60 games heading to Omaha. They have hit seven solo home runs in their two games against the Tigers.
LSU starter Austin Ross lasted just two innings, struggling with his command -- 22 of his 41 pitches were strikes -- and surrendering two runs on four hits in two innings.
The Longhorns out-hit the Tigers 12-4, with Clark leading the way with three hits and two RBI. Eight of nine starters had at least one hit. Texas, however, also made three errors, giving them 11 in five CWS games after entering the series with the fourth-best fielding percentage nationally.
Texas manufactured a run in the top of the first inning to lead 1-0. Michael Torres walked on four pitches, raced to second on LSU's first error of the CWS -- an errant throw behind Torres at first base by catcher Micah Gibbs -- and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Travis Tucker. Brandon Belt followed with a line-drive single to right field.
Texas made it 2-0 in the top of the second on Clark's solo home run to left field.
LSU, however, made it 2-1 in the bottom half of the inning after Longhorns shortstop Brandon Loy booted Derek Helenihi's two-out ground ball, allowing Mitchell to score from second base. With two outs, Mitchell lined a single to left, the Tigers' first hit off Jungmann. Then speedy left fielder Leon Landry beat out an infield single, moving Mitchell to second.
LSU wasted an ideal scoring opportunity in the third, when DJ LeMahieu led off the bottom of the third inning with a triple. But Jungmann, who threw six pitches to two batters before being pulled in the ninth inning Monday, got a flyout, strikeout and fielder's choice groundout to end the threat. The Tigers wasted another chance in the sixth, but Blake Dean was doubled up when he was called out for leaving second base early on a flyout to center field.
The two teams also turned in stellar defensive plays.
Texas wiggled out of trouble in the bottom off the fourth inning on a 4-6-3 double-play that saw second baseman Travis Tucker snag a ground ball behind the bag near the outfield grass and shovel it to shortstop Brandon Loy.
In the top of the fifth, Landry made a diving catch near the foul line on a deep, slicing fly ball off the bat of Kevin Keyes. Not to be outdone, LSU shortstop Austin Nola made an over-the-shoulder catch in shallow left field on a towering Clark pop-up for the first out in the eighth inning.