Matteo Bocchi (Will Gallagher/IT)
AUSTIN — Before the season, Texas head coach David Pierce was facing a roster unlike any he had coached before. Half of the roster had been part of the team in 2017, half were not. It started out with a stumble, but week by week the pieced together squad battled to the top of the Big 12, followed by a Super Regional.
Facing the best hitting team in Division I in a do-or-die Game 3, Pierce once again had to piece together a win.
With their backs against the wall, the Texas Longhorns did what no other team could do against Tennessee Tech all year: limit the Golden Eagles to fewer than five hits.
Facing a team that ranks first in the nation in multiple offensive categories, Texas did well to limit the Tennessee Tech bats from leaving the ball park. It’s what Texas didn’t do that cost them in a 5-4 loss to the Golden Eagles.
Before Texas’ 2018 season began, Texas head coach David Pierce was asked what his team’s goal was. In response, he said every team has the same goal at the beginning of the year; make it to Omaha and win the College World Series. His team’s mission was different.
Tennessee Tech heads to Austin as one of the hottest teams in the country. Not only have they won a staggering 52 games this season, they just knocked off No. 4 Ole Miss in Oxford to get to this point. Two of the three games the Golden Eagles played were filled with their power hitting style of baseball. The third, and regional clincher, was in a pitcher’s duel.
Man, that was fun. Zubia and Clemens did what they’ve done all year, Blair Henley delivered his best performance as a Longhorn, and for the first time in four years the Longhorns are in the round of 16. Here’s five thoughts on the exciting weekend.
AUSTIN — Junior Nolan Kingham thought he was going to start Friday night against Texas Southern. His body thought otherwise. Kingham caught some sort of bug following the Big 12 Tournament, and though he improved throughout the week he took a step back as the regional approached.
“It was ongoing on Thursday and I told [Texas head coach David] Pierce ‘I don’t know about Friday, man. It’s pretty close,’” Kingham said. “He gave me an extra day and it worked out.”
When Texas A&M was announced as one of the three teams traveling to Austin for an NCAA Tournament regional, this was the outcome the committee, fans of both teams, and (most likely) both teams wanted to see.
Regional play returns to UFCU Disch-Falk Field Friday for the first time in seven years. Tickets have sold out, and the Friday starters for all four teams, Texas, Indiana, Texas A&M, and Texas Southern, have been announced.
Texas head coach David Pierce is focused on getting through the regional and to the round of 16. He has tried to make sure his team won’t overlook TSU, and rather than start a Tuesday arm in a game Texas is favored to win, he’s starting one of his top two in an attempt to move through the winner’s bracket.
On Sunday, the Longhorns found out they would be hosting a regional at UFCU Disch-Falk Field for the first time in seven years. On Monday, they found out the regional had the possibility to be one of the most exciting ones in Austin in years.