Freshman C.J Hinojosa has played only 14 games as a Texas Longhorn, but he’s already building a reputation as a late-game hero.
The shortstop now has two game-winning hits in his very brief UT career after a walk-off double gave the Longhorns a 3-2 win over UC Santa Barbara at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in front of 5,213 fans Saturday afternoon.
Texas (9-5) had ample opportunities to pull away from UCSB, but it wasn’t until the bottom of the ninth when the Horns finally were able to get the game winner home.
Hinojosa came to the plate with two outs in the ninth and had the winning run, Erich Weiss, standing on second. The Spring native waited for his pitch and then smacked a 2-2 fastball into right field to give the Longhorns their second walk-off win of the year and guaranteeing the series win over UC Santa Barbara (8-6).
“I just went up there with the mindset of being relaxed, having fun,” Hinojosa said. “If I get the hit we win, if I don’t I’ve got to go back out there and play defense again.”
Thirteen positional players chipped in to Texas’ third straight win as head coach Augie Garrido went to his bench often late in the game for defensive switches, pinch hitters and pinch runners.
“I think the level of teamwork was much higher than it has been in a more quiet way,” Garrido said. “I felt they had a little swagger in them today.”
Starter Dillon Peters allowed only two hits and struck out four Gauchos over 5 2/3 innings, but it was his sixth-inning struggles that allowed Santa Barbara to take a 2-1 lead.
With the wind gusting, Peters lost some command and walked the final two batters he faced. Ty Marlow came in and immediately gave up a go-ahead RBI double to Robby Nesovic, but Marlow, who picked up his first win as a Longhorn and dropped his ERA to a team-leading 0.79, retired the final ten batters UCSB sent to the plate.
The Gauchos got on the board with a sacrifice fly in the second to start the scoring. After Texas stranded runners in the first two innings - the Horns would strand 12 on the day - Weiss, who went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs, smashed a two-out triple to center in the third and scored on the next pitch when Mark Payton singled up the middle to tie it at one.
Weiss also picked up his RBI single in the seventh, tying the game at two and setting the table for Hinojosa’s ninth-inning heroics.