"When I step out there every game, I think this is the best defensive team in the country. I can say that with confidence, up the middle and everywhere," French said. "They make those plays, it makes me more of a strike-throwing machine, because they're going to be aggressive and let me keep my pitch count down."
Texas opened the scoring on Johnson's sacrifice fly after Zane Guritz doubled leading off the third inning. The Longhorns added a run in the fourth on Kacy Clemens' RBI groundout and another in the fifth when Mark Payton came home on second baseman Zach Lucas' throwing error.
Louisville had won 12 of 13 games this season, and 17 of 19 the last two seasons, in games started by Kidston.
"We wanted to get on him early, and we did a good job of that those three innings we scored runs," Johnson said. "We knew they have a pretty good bullpen, so we wanted a lead going to the last innings."
McDonnell gathered his players after Texas went up 3-0 and challenged them. His talk didn't work.
"We probably chased some pitches we shouldn't have in big situations with runners on," Cole Spurgeon said. "We probably didn't do a great job of making them work for everything. We made it easy on them for a few innings."
Louisville pulled to 3-1 in the eighth on Sturgeon's groundout. But the Longhorns scored an unearned run in the top of the ninth to make it a three-run game again.
"We had a two-inning lapse where we made it a little too easy on them," McDonnell said. "They got the momentum, and we let them roll with it."