AUSTIN, Texas – Mark Payton had a two-out RBI single to give Texas the lead in the bottom of the sixth, then scored on Brandon Loy's double to help the Longhorns beat Arizona State 4-2 on Sunday to win the Austin Super Regional and advance to their record 34th College World Series.
Riccio Torrez hit a two-run homer for Arizona State (43-18) in the top of the first, but Texas (49-17) pulled within one in the bottom of the inning on Erich Weiss' RBI groundout.
In the top of the fourth, the umpire made a controversial call that ended a Sun Devils' rally.
Joey DeMichele singled with one out. As Zach Wilson was about to take a walk on a full-count pitch, DeMichele headed toward second and advanced to third when Texas second baseman Jordan Etier bobbled a throw from catcher Jacob Felts. But Wilson was ruled out for interference for getting in the way of Felts on the throw and the umpire ruled DeMichele had to return to first base.
Arizona State coach Tim Esmay argued with the umpires.
Matt Newman flied out to end the inning on the next at-bat.
"The umpires make the calls," Torrez said. "And sometimes they make bad calls, but it's baseball, you just have to keep playing."
Esmay wouldn't comment on the call, and an umpire refused to answer a reporter's question about the call and told him to look at the rule book for further explanation.
The Longhorns almost came up big in the bottom of the fourth, but Mitchell Lambson got the Sun Devils out of a bases-loaded jam.
Texas tied it in the fifth when Loy singled and scored on a balk.
In the sixth, with two outs, Tant Shepherd doubled to left field. Then Payton brought home Shepherd, and the lead, on a two-out RBI single to right field. Patyon followed by stealing second, advancing to third on an error and then came home on Loy's double.
"(Lambson) is a good pitcher and really shut us down pretty much all game today," Payton said. "I was just looking for a pitch I could handle and I was lucky to have Tant to keep that inning going and maybe take away Lambson's confidence a little bit and just try to hit the ball hard somewhere."
Hoby Milner (7-4) pitched 2 1-3 innings for the victory, and Corey Knebel worked the ninth for his 19th save of the season.
"I thought Texas pitched really well this weekend," Esmay said. "Our ability to swing the bats, and get base hits with guys on base, was the nemesis of this weekend and you can say that's on us but I'd say it's also on them and their pitching staff, on match ups and bringing different arms in. It makes it tough on an offense when they continue to bring in different arms and different looks. That's a good thing to have in your bullpen.
Lambson (7-4) pitched five innings of relief for Arizona State.
Arizona State won the opener 3-1, and Texas tied it Saturday with a 5-1 victory.
The Longhorns will open up College World Series play next weekend against Florida.