Site Navigation

Tigers Fall 5-3 to Texas in NCAA Baseball Championship Opener

Princeton's Zak Hermans
Princeton's Zak Hermans

2011 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Bracket (pdf) | Interactive Bracket

Tournament Central | Box Score

Courtesy of Princeton Athletic Communications

AUSTIN, Texas --  The Princeton baseball team fell 5-3 at fifth-ranked Texas on Friday night at the Austin Regional of the 2011 NCAA Baseball Championship. Texas scored two runs without a hit in the first inning to take a lead before the Tigers scratched out runs later in the game.

Texas manufactured two runs in the first inning without a hit. Tant Shepherd and Brandon Loy walked and wound up on second and third on a double steal. Erich Weiss plated Shepherd on a groundout to second base and Loy scores on a wild pitch to the backstop.

Princeton got the first hit of the game in the top of the second when Alex Flink singled over the head of the Texas first baseman. The Tigers had runners on base in the first, second and third innings, but couldn't plate a run.

The Tigers would get on the scoreboard in the fifth inning following a leadoff walk from Flink who walked on a 3-2 pitch. Flink advanced to second on a groundout where the Texas shortstop missed second base when attempting the double play. Flink then came around to score when Matt Bowman hit a two-out single to shallow left center and got Princeton within a run.

Texas went down in order in the second and fourth innings but threatened in the third inning but putting two on before Princeton starter Zak Hermans got out of trouble. The Longhorns broke through though in the bottom of the fifth when Shepherd hit a two-run home run. Jacob Felts hit a one-out single to left field to bring up Shepherd who launched a 2-1 pitch into the Princeton bullpen in left field. Texas would go on to load the bases in the inning as David Palms came on in relief but Palms would get an inning-ending strikeout.

The Longhorns added a run in the sixth inning as two walks and a hit batsman loaded the bases with one out. Mark Payton would drive in the run with a sac fly to right field and Princeton would end any further damage when Jordan Etier was caught stealing. Palms picked off Shepherd at first, who tried to get into a rundown. Once Etier broke for home, Mike Ford ran him down and tagged him out to end the inning.

Base-running problems hurt Texas again in the seventh inning as Brandon Loy doubled and Weiss walked to put two on base. Paul Montalbano came up to bunt and popped up a pitch that Palms laid out for and caught. He threw to second to get Loy, who was running on the pitch, for the double play and then got Jonathan Walsh to foul out to end the inning.

Texas starter Sam Stafford went seven innings and allowed a run on two hits. The Longhorns went to the bullpen in the eighth inning and the Tigers were able to string together three hits and score two runs. Alec Keller hit a leadoff pinch-hit single to left and Bowman followed with a double down the left field line. After a second pitching change, John Mishu singled to left to score Boggiano and make the score 5-2. Ford then hit a grounder that resulted in an out at second, but plated Bowman with the third Princeton run as Ford beat the throw to first. Texas made third pitching change of the inning and Corey Knebel got an inning-ending double play to quell the Princeton threat. Matt Grabowski came on to pitch and got the Longhorns in order to end the eighth inning.

Ryan Albert led off the ninth inning with a single over the head of Loy at short to give Princeton a base runner. Steve Harrington followed and popped one up to shallow center that Etier went back on from second base and made a diving catch on for an out. Knebel the got Flink to fly out to center and Nate Baird to ground out to end the game.

Stafford got the win with his seven innings of work to move to 6-2. Hermans took the loss as he allowed four runs on four hits in 4.1 innings of work.

Princeton is now 23-23 overall and will play Texas State on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT in an elimination game at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.