By Chase Kozmetsky
Background The Texas Longhorns have once again punched their ticket to Omaha. Texas will be heading to the College World Series for the 38th time out of 73 CWS all time. To put it into retrospect, that means Texas has made just about HALF of the CWS in history! That is a record that Texas plans to keep until someone proves superior over the horns. Texas is second among colleges national championships only behind Southern California who has 12 compared with Texas 6. Texas although is still considered college baseballs most storied program. But it wasn’t all easy sailing for the Omahorns. Lets look back on their journey back to the CWS.
The Season Texas played well this finishing with a record of 47-20. The horns had some great series and not so great series. Starting with the good against Rice. The opening home series for the horns was against the Rice Owls. Lets say the bats woke up in bat city against Rice beating them 36-3 in 3 games! Texas went up to Houston where they would play then number 17 Tennessee and number 7 ranked LSU. Surprisingly, they flew through those two games with a combine score of 13-3 with no struggle what so ever and looked good going up against unranked UCLA. Or so we thought. UCLA came out quick shocking Texas 5-1. This wouldn’t be the end of the bad luck for the horns shortly after hearing that star pitcher Tanner Witt would have tommy john surgery and will be out for the rest of the year. This didn’t bother them though seeing that the bats from Rice carried over to Incarnate Word where the horns put up 41 runs to UIW’s 4 runs sweeping both series 3-0. The horns also played Baylor in conference play were they put another crazy amount of runs with 46-9 score over 3 games. Not only did they score 46 runs over 3 games, they won game 1 20-1! Texas also had some unfortunate series to the likes of Air Force and Texas Tech. Texas was able to split the series against Air Force 1 and 1 but it was easy even for a home series. In game 1, Air Force had an outstanding game all around the diamond shooting Texas from the sky 14-2. Game 2 wasn’t much different. Neither team could get things going forcing Trey Flatline to hit a walk off 2-run shot to win. The 2 games dropped to Tech might be some of the most embarrassing ways to lose I have ever seen. With a walk off grand slam and walk off pitching error in games 1 and 2, Texas came out and rune ruled Tech 11-1 in game 3.
Regional and Super-Regional Texas made it all the way to the Big 12 tournament championship only to lose to Oklahoma 8-1. Texas did get lucky in getting the 9th overall seed and hosting a regional with the likes of Louisiana Tech, Dallas Baptist, and the returning Air Force Academy. Texas marched through the regional starting with an 11-3 win over Air Force. They met La Tech in game two who gave them a bit of a challenge only wining 5-2. Which led to them once again meeting and beating the Academy in the regional final 10-1, the horns moved onto Greensville, NC one step closer to the CWS. Texas learned quick that East Carolina is not an easy place to play dropping game 1 of 3 7-13 in a hard fought game after going down 7-2 early in the game. In game 2 the horns once again found themselves in a 7-2 whole but didn’t quit. In the 7th, Douglas Hodo III hits a 2 run “dougie” dinger to make the game 7-4 going to the 8th. In the 8th, Skylar Messinger hits a 3 shot to tie the game at 7. Two batters later, Dylan Campbell hits a solo shot to take the lead 8-7 going into the ninth. ECU ties it up at 8 a piece but up comes Dylan Campbell with bases loaded rips one down the the right field line walking it off as Melendez scores from 3rd. Game 3 started later and ended way later. With runners on 1st and 2nd, Ivan Melendez hits a 3 run shot for his 32nd homer on the year. After an RBI single by Messinger, lightning hit and the game was delayed for 6 hours. Texas didn’t stop adding 5 runs in the second inning to eventually come out on top to win 11-1 and return to Omaha.
Looking to Omaha Texas will be playing one of the hottest teams in college baseball right now in the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Notre Dame played in the Statesboro regional hosted by Georgia Southern along with Texas Tech and UNC Greensboro where they swept the competition beating Tech twice. Everyone in the college baseball world thought that the Luck of the Irish was going to run out heading to Knoxville to play number 1 Tennessee where they absolutely dominated and upset the no. 1 team in the nation to advance to Omaha. Texas will enjoy there second round matchup win or lose due to the fact that they will be playing one of their two arch rivals Texas A&M or Oklahoma.
Texas fell just short last year in the CWS and are out for blood this year to bring home their 7th national championship as the Omahorns.