Baseball signee Owen Meaney ready to pitch under the lights in Austin

Owen Meaney (E. Lewallen/special to IT)

Owen Meaney (E. Lewallen/special to IT)

HOUSTON — Texas’ 2018 baseball class is filled with pitching. 10 of 16 signees are hurlers to be exact. One of those pitchers, Houston St. Thomas RHP Owen Meaney, had several high-profile schools after him. After a camp in Austin, he knew Texas was the place for him.

Meaney, listed at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds by Texas, is a member of one of Houston’s strongest prep baseball programs in St. Thomas. He originally didn’t have the Longhorns on his radar and was committed to LSU.

“I really liked the tradition there,” Meaney said about the Tigers on Monday. “They win a lot, the baseball program is fantastic there, and I was looking at it from more of a baseball side when I was young and I liked how much they won. I decided to commit there.”

LSU head coach Paul Maineri runs a strong program, but there was an allure that Texas provided the Tigers could not.

“Being at St. Thomas and knowing the importance of my academics past college and knowing that baseball’s not going to last forever, I felt like Texas was a great choice,” Meaney said. “Also, it’s a lot closer to home than LSU. It cut the drive down about two hours, so that’s pretty nice.”

As with several recent Longhorn commitments, a visit to Austin made the difference. Meaney attended a camp in Austin last summer, interacted with volunteer assistant Phil Haig and was watched in the bullpen by assistant coach Sean Allen. “I threw in front of them, did pretty well, and it started from there,” Meaney said.

Meaney was not a new name to the Texas staff, and after seeing him throw Pierce wanted what the tall right-hander offered.

“When we had him at our camp we had an opportunity to see him,” Pierce said after Texas’ April 24 win over Houston. “We really like his body. We think his arm is definitely going to play. Now, he’s just got to mature and compete at this level.”

Pierce said two qualities of Meaney’s that stood out were his arm strength and his “plus” changeup. Perfect Game has clocked Meaney’s fastball at 92 mph. His motion is quiet and repeatable, he has a large, athletic frame, and is one of the six right-handed pitching signees who are 6-foot-3 or taller.

St. Thomas’ TAPPS playoff run begins Wednesday, but the pressure and the spotlight aren’t anything Meaney is afraid of. After taking in some of Texas’ early season action, he knew Disch-Falk Field was the place for him.

“I like their stadium a lot and the atmosphere there,” Meaney said. “I went to two games there against Stanford and it was a packed crowd. It felt like all the fans were into the game, and I just like playing in that type of environment with a lot of people watching.”

A pitcher-friendly park helps, too.

“Park’s a lot bigger. That’s nice.”