CJ Hinojosa has done something no other player in the College World Series has done this year.
He hit a home run.
Hinojosa’s drive over the left field fence proved to be the difference maker as the Texas Longhorns (45-20) edged the UC-Irvine Anteaters 1-0. The victory means the Longhorns will play Vanderbilt in the bracket finals.
The two teams were locked in a scoreless duel until the seventh inning. That’s when Hinojosa turned on a 2-0 fastball from Evan Manarino for his second home run of the season.
“I was just trying to see a good pitch,” Hinojosa said. “I put a good swing on it, and it flew out. I think the wind might have changed. That was kind of lucky on our side.”
Fans and critics had become frustrated with the lack of offense in Omaha, especially home runs. Modified bats and baseballs have had teams playing small ball throughout the series, making runs a scarcity.
The other story in the game was the pitching of Chad Hollingsworth. Filling in for the injured Dillon Peters, Hollingsworth made his second start of the season, pitching 8.1 scoreless innings. He allowed four hits and struck out four batters. Both of Hollingsworth’s starts have come in the postseason, where he has pitched 17.1 innings, allowing no runs, six hits and five walks while striking out eight.
Mark Payton made a huge defensive play in the third inning when he dove to grab a Taylor Spark’s drive into the right center field gap with a runner on base to save a run.
Texas and Vanderbilt play at 2:00 PM CT on Friday on ESPNU. If necessary, a second game will be played on Saturday.