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.
Two-and-'cue is never a desired outcome especially for Longhorns baseball. A 3-2 loss to Kansas followed by a 3-1 loss to Oklahoma has the Longhorns leaving Oklahoma City much earlier than expected. Elimination from the Big 12 Tournament is not a positive data point, but for me it comes down to this: two games shouldn't supersede a season's body of work when it comes to hosting.
Texas didn’t face Jackson Goddard during the Longhorns sweep of the Jayhawks in mid-March. They got his best today. Goddard pitched 6.2 innings Wednesday in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament. He allowed two hits, just one earned run, and struck out seven in a 119 pitch performance. Three Jayhawks pitched effectively in relief and survived a ninth inning scare to defeat the top seeded Longhorns 3-2.
Masen Hibbeler had one offer from Odessa College following a career capped by a state championship at Cy-Ranch High School. The junior utility player played infield in West Texas, where the crowds are 1/70 the size of crowds in Austin.