Texas has history on its side entering finale
AUSTIN, Texas – Texas has put together one of the more memorable campaigns in school history this season, but all that would’ve been for naught without a win against TCU in Game 2 of the Austin Super Regional on Saturday.
In the series opener on Friday, TCU freshman sensation Matt Purke mystified the Longhorns en route to a 3-1 victory. The loss to the Horned Frogs put the Longhorns in a vulnerable position. But it wasn’t an unfamiliar position for this program.
After Friday’s loss to the Frogs, the Longhorns vowed to shake off the loss and head to Saturday with a clean slate. They showed up Saturday at UFCU Disch-Falk field very quiet, knowing exactly what was on the line and approaching it in a businesslike manner.
Either they were going to beat the Horned Frogs to force a third game, or the Frogs were punching their ticket to the College World Series for the first time in school history.
After five innings of play, it was evident the Longhorns came to play. It also was evident we would be treated to a rubber match between the two in-state foes, as the Longhorns scored 12 runs the first five innings on the way to a 14-1 victory.
“I just told the team after five innings we needed to score 12 runs,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “Texas pitcher Taylor Jungmann had a lot to do with our struggles. I didn’t think he came out of the gate that great, but he really got into a rhythm.”
While Purke was the star of the day for the Frogs on Friday, Jungmann served as Texas’ spark on Saturday, enabling the bench to get vocal and confident early in the contest.
As with Purke, Jungmann got into a groove as the game progressed and put together a fabulous start for the second straight week. He struck out nine batters and allowed just a run on six hits in 8 1/3 innings.
“Great pitching dominates great hitting,” Texas coach Augie Garrido said. “It happened to us yesterday, and it happened to them today.”
The Texas offense also took charge in the contest, clubbing out 14 hits, three doubles, a triple and a home run just a day after recording three hits.
There’s still no question the Longhorns possess one of the weaker offenses in NCAA super regional play, but almost everyone – citing the clutch aspect of this team – saw a performance like this coming from the Longhorns both on the mound and at the plate.
The Longhorns just know when to turn it on at the right time.
It’s now safe to say history is on the Longhorns’ side. It also could be a sign of things to come.
Garrido alluded to it after Friday’s contest, but the Longhorns twice have fallen into 0-1 holes in super regional series. It happened against Houston in 2002 and Mississippi in 2005.
In both instances, the Longhorns fought back to win the super regional. They also went on to win their fifth and sixth national titles, respectively.
The Longhorns have business to take care of Sunday before thinking about winning a seventh national title. But baseball, most of the time, is a game of trends, history and sheer luck.
This situation is nothing new for Texas.
The same can’t be said for TCU.