When Hunter McCubbins crushed a two-run, first-inning mammoth home run, San Antonio, Texas, pitcher Seth Morrow appeared unshaken.
And he was not.
Morrow knew his team still led by one. More importantly, he knew he would receive a little help from his friends. Morrow received that in a big way as Texas erupted for 10 runs over the final three innings and defeated Great Lakes champion New Castle, Ind., 13-3, Sunday at Volunteer Stadium. Morrow threw three strong innings to get the win and Zachary Sanchez and Jordan Cardenas homered to ignite a 13-hit offense.
"You can't really worry about it and I didn't worry about it," Morrow said. "I knew our team would score runs after that so I didn't worry about it all."
Texas advanced to Wednesday's winner's bracket final against Tennessee. Indiana will play Connecticut at 8 p.m. tonight in an elimination game.
The Great Lakes champions are no strangers to bouncing back, doing so as low seeds in both their state and regional tournaments.
"Don't count us out," Indiana manager Tim Porter said. "We're moving on and we'll get out and play baseball and we're going to play some good baseball."
Sanchez put Texas ahead to stay in the first inning, slamming a two-run home run over the center field fence two batters into the game. Texas scored three runs that inning before McCubbins' home run made it a one-run game.
Had it not been for Sanchez, Indiana might have tied it or taken the lead. Jason Anderson ripped what looked like would be a one-out single, but Sanchez made a sprinting, diving catch in right field.
"I just wanted to help the team," Sanchez said. "If I made the play, great, but I just wanted to help the team."
"He does that all the time," Texas manager Jack Wideman said. "He makes big plays all the time."
It remained a one-run game until Texas erupted for six fourth-inning runs. The Southwest champions had four hits in the inning that Tyler Vitt highlighted with an RBI double one batter after Mason Moore hit a pinch-hit RBI single.
An inning later, Landry Wideman hit a RBI double and in the sixth, Cardenas slammed a two-run home run, his second in two Series games.
"We knew we were going to get more runs as the innings went by," Cardenas said.
Morrow struck out three in three innings before Carter Elliott threw the final three innings. Elliott struck out two against an Indiana team that had scored 10 runs in its last two games.
"You just have to stay relaxed and not think about what they've done before," Elliott said. "You just think about throwing strikes."
McCubbins continued his torrid play. He has six hits in his last three games dating back to the Great Lakes final and his first-inning home run was one of the farthest hit by an American player at the Series.
McCubbins has developed into a team leader, proving it in the sixth inning as he refused to let the deficit deflate Indiana
"When we get Hunter on base good things usually happen so it was nice to see him come through tonight and continue to do the things he's done to get us here," Porter said. "He's a good kid too. We're down 11 runs and he's as enthusiastic in the dugout down 11 runs as when it's 0-0 so he's a good kid to have on the team."
The top four hitters in Texas's lineup all had two this each. They also combined for seven RBIs while Jack Scarborough went 2 for 2 and improved to 3 for 3 in two Series games.
"We've gotten an explosion of runs all year," Wideman said. "That's just us. We put pressure on teams."