Baseball

One more ride for Austin Todd

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After suffering a season-ending shoulder injury during his redshirt senior season, the question for Austin Todd became, will there be a year six?

Thursday, he provided his answer: yes.

Todd, whose 2021 season was cut short in March when he injured his shoulder, compiled a .292 average in six games. During his 157 games at Texas, Todd has slashed .275/.361/.373 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 140 career hits and 87 RBI.

Injury has cost Todd time in two seasons. A thumb ailment kept him off the field in 2018 while his shoulder was the culprit in 2021. The shortened 2020 season gave him a year of eligibility relief due to COVID, while his eligibility extending into 2022 comes as a result of a medical redshirt.

At this juncture, the only main pieces missing from the 2021 lineup are first baseman Zach Zubia and third baseman Cam Williams. The return of Ivan Melendez indicates he seeks to develop in the field like Zubia several years ago. Kansas transfer Skylar Messinger, a second-team All-Big 12 selection, softens the blow of losing Williams to the draft.

While Eric Kennedy has not made a declaration about his future, he can likely be penciled in as the center fielder for the 2022 team with Todd manning one of the corner outfield spots.

Douglas Hodo III, who replaced Todd in right after the injury, has a leg up on the rest of the competition but will need to hold off players like Dylan Campbell and Ace Whitehead to retain his spot in the lineup.

The No. 3 team in the nation finished just short of the College World Series finals. Most of the team that made it to Omaha has returned.

Todd was not able to join his teammates in Nebraska due to COVID protocols, but he elected for one more go-round in a Longhorn uniform, giving Texas a stacked 2022 roster that ranks among the top two or three in the country.