It took nearly nine games, but a ball finally escaped the cavernous confines of TD Ameritrade Park on Wednesday night. Texas shotstop C.J. Hinojosa blasted the first homer of the 2014 College World Series over the left field wall in the seventh inning of an elimination game against UC Irvine, the only run in a 1-0 Longhorns win.
The blast broke a scoreless pitchers' duel -- and a 115-inning homerless streak in Omaha dating back to June 21, 2013 -- between Texas's Chad Hollingsworth and UC Irvine's Evan Manarino. Hollingsworth, making just his second start of the season, gave up only four hits over 8⅓ scoreless innings and allowed just two Anteaters to move into scoring position all night.
Manarino picked up the bad luck loss, giving up five hits and one run over 6⅓ frames.
It looked as though the Longhorns would get on the board an inning earlier when left fielder Ben Johnson laced a one-out triple down the left field line in the sixth. But after the Anteaters appealed the play, the umpires ruled he hadn't touched first base and ruled him out.
UC Irvine's best chance to score came in the third inning when third baseman Taylor Sparks drove a ball deep into right center field that would have likely plated the runner on first. But Longhorns center fielder Mark Payton made the catch of the tournament, leaving his feet in full extension toward the outfield wall for the diving snag.
The Anteaters leave Omaha with a 1-2 record, having beaten the Longhorns in their opening game before losing to Vanderbilt.
Texas earns the right to play the undefeated Commodores on Friday. They'll need to win consecutive games in order to advance to the finals.
On the other side of the bracket, Ole Miss faces TCU in an elimination game Thursday night. The winner of that will advance to play undefeated Virginia.
For the complete bracket, visit NCAA.com.