Jungmann stymies Rice in regional win

June, 6, 2010
AUSTIN, Texas -- Rice starting pitcher Mike Ojala shared some big words after the Owls eliminated Louisiana-Lafayette in Sunday's afternoon game.

"Our offense is best in the country, so is our defense," Ojala said. "We've got a lot of great arms left. Our offense is rolling. Our defense is rolling. We're ready to kick some butt."

Texas pitcher Taylor Jungmann's play on Sunday night disagreed, and the sophomore stymied Rice over 7 2/3 innings, allowing just two hits and setting the Longhorns up to win the Austin Regional 4-1 over the Owls in front of 7,131 fans at Disch-Falk Stadium.

Afterward, Ojala's teammates disagreed, too.

"He's the No. 1 pitcher in the nation, probably," Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon, who hit three home runs in a game on Saturday but went just 1-for-3 on Sunday night, said about Jungmann. "He does everything right."

Jungmann's night, which Texas coach Augie Garrido called "absolutely brilliant," shoved Rice (40-23) back into the offensive funk that forced the Owls to fight their way back through the loser's bracket after an opening-game 1-0 loss to Louisiana.

"It wasn't just the stuff, it was the mix," Rice coach Wayne Graham said of Jungmann.

Said Rendon: "His pitch location is spectacular. His fastball goes up to what? Ninety-seven? His slider's probably at like 84 or 85."

Texas' four runs were more than it needed.

Only three Longhorns recorded the team's five hits, but Russell Moldenhauer's pair were the ones that counted. The senior put the Longhorns up 2-0 with a double to deep right-center in the top of the sixth and crushed a monster home run down the right-field line to put them up 4-0 in the eighth.

"That might be my first career home run here that's actually gone over there in that direction," said Moldenhauer, a lefty. "Besides [batting practice] I think it's the only home run I've hit in that direction."

Craig Manuel batted in Rice's only run with a double in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Rice threatened to inch closer after Chance Ruffin replaced Jungmann with two outs, but Longhorns second baseman Jordan Etier laid out to snag a grounder and snap the ball to first to end the inning and strand a runner in scoring position.

"He made a dramatic play, and all year, despite his challenges at the plate, he's never given up defensively, and he's been a part of probably the best double-play combination in the country," Garrido said. "That's a heck of a lot harder to do when you're not hitting, and I admire him for that and respect him for that."

But Texas saved its dog pile and catcher sprints into pitchers' arms for later in the season. In their place, a few restrained fist-pumps and soft pats on the back with knowledge that there's plenty more work to be done.



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