His psychological chicanery worked wonders Saturday, as the Longhorns bounced back with an 8-4 win over the Cornhuskers at Hawks Field at Haymarket Park. The final game of the series will be played Sunday.
Of course, Garrido’s ploy wouldn’t have worked at all if not for the right arm of Adrian Alaniz, who didn’t allow a run after the third inning. Alaniz ran his record to 10-2 by giving up 7 hits and 7 2/3 innings, walking three and striking out 10 in a 126-pitch performance.
Garrido no doubt managed to muster at least a “good game” compliment to Alaniz after Randy Boone’s save.
“I didn’t talk to them,” said Garrido, whose team is now 32-12 and 13-4 in Big 12 play. “I wanted to see what they would do on their own, how they would respond. I didn’t want to have any influence or effect on them.
“They did great.”
The Longhorns scored first in the top of the inning when Kyle Russell followed a Chance Wheeless single with a two-run opposite-field home run to left field. The Cornhuskers responded in the bottom of the inning by loading the bases with no outs, but managed only one run after a double play and a strikeout.
After the game, Alaniz admitted that escaping the first inning with minimal damage was critical.
“By far the double play was the biggest play of the game,” Alaniz said. “I needed some help right there, and we were able to get the ground ball. Our defense played great.”
Nebraska took a 4-2 lead in the third inning on Andrew Brown’s two-run double, and he then scored on a wild pitch. Texas, however, answered quickly in the top of the fourth inning. Russell Moldenhauer and Nick People drew walks and Preston Clark loaded the bases with a bloop single.
Travis Tucker’s groundout scored Moldenhauer and Michael Demperio produced his biggest hit of the year, a two-run single to centerfield. Prior to the game, Demperio had one run batted in for the season.
Moldenhauer played a crucial role again in the fifth when he smacked a double to score Russell and later scored himself on another Travis Tucker groundout, giving Texas a 7-4 lead. A Peoples’ sacrifice fly gave Texas an insurance run in the ninth inning.
Boone retired all four batters he faced to get his 10th save of the season. Nebraska fell to 23-16 and 8-9 in the Big 12.
“The first three innings or so, I thought this was going to be a game where the team that had the last at-bat was going to win,” Alaniz said. “But I just told myself, ‘I really want this game.’ We just didn’t need to let this one get away from us.”
Garrido might return with his gift of gab to the team, but as well as his mute button worked Saturday, he might just stay quiet again. Whatever the case, he likes his team’s chances Sunday.
“Alaniz was brilliant from the fourth inning on,” Garrido said. “We fought hard to get the momentum back on our side, and we’ll be able to bring Randy back again Sunday. This was a big one for us.”