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‘It’s made for TV:’ Longhorns headed to College Station for NCAA regional

‘It’s made for TV:’ Longhorns headed to College Station for NCAA regional

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The NCAA baseball tournament selection committee did what people thought they would do — send Texas on a short drive to open the NCAA tournament.

The Longhorns are headed to College Station to take on Louisiana in the opening round of the regional tournament at 5 p.m. CT Friday on ESPNU. Texas A&M earned the No. 3 national seed and the right to host the regional. They’ll play Grambling to open the tournament at noon Friday. If the Longhorns and Aggies win their first matchups, there will be yet another Lone Star Showdown on the diamond.

Texas is a No. 3 seed in the regional when most projections late in the season had them as a No. 2. It doesn’t change the first matchup in the regional, but if two teams who aren’t nationally seeded win regionals, it could hamper the Longhorns’ ability to host a super regional if the situation arises.

“It’s another step. I think that’s how everyone is looking at it,” Longhorns sophomore Jared Thomas said. “It’s another opportunity to go win another baseball game.”

Thomas grew up a UT fan and the rivalry with the Aggies carried over from his fandom to when he put on the burnt orange.

“It’s always been a rivalry and I’ve never really liked them personally,” he said. “I knew there was a good chance we’d go there. They’re a good ballclub.”

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Head coach David Pierce said he was “a little surprised” his club ended up the No. 3 seed in the regional, but in the end, it’s not about the little number next to the name on the bracket.

“It really doesn’t matter. It’s all about this team and how they play,” Pierce said. “They can go out and beat anybody in the country, and they can get embarrassed by anybody in the country. We have to relish this week.”

Pierce said he watched “every pitch” of the Texas/Texas A&M softball super regional and joked that was why the committee made the potential matchup on the bigger diamond.

Another Lone Star Showdown on the diamond? Aggies to host regional, Longhorns projected to College Station

“I was so pumped for Mike and the girls,” Pierce said. “What an awesome super regional. I guess it’s made for TV because that was pretty exciting, so they figured. ‘What the hell?’ We’ll send Texas there and make it just as exciting.”

The Aggies beat the Longhorns 9-2 on March 5 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. If Texas A&M wins the regional, the Aggies will host the super regional best-of-three series at Blue Bell Park.

It’s the 63rd time the Longhorns have made the NCAA tournament, the most in NCAA history. Should the Longhorns break through and win the region, they could end up heading west to UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos earned the No. 14 national seed and will host Fresno State, Oregon and San Diego in their regional.

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The Southeastern Conference, where the Longhorns will play next season, qualified 11 teams for the regional round, the most for one conference in tournament history. Tennessee was awarded the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Kentucky at No. 2.

The Big 12 Conference has two regional host teams, No. 9 Oklahoma and No. 11 Oklahoma State.

Cincinnati and TCU were two of the “first four out” by the selection committee. Central Florida, Kansas State and West Virginia were other Big 12 teams that made the tournament field. The Atlantic Coast Conference qualified eight teams and the Sun Belt Conference is sending four teams.

The Men’s College World Series begins June 14 at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska.

College Station regional tournament schedule

  • Friday, May 31 | Game 1 | Grambling vs. Texas A&M | 12 p.m. | ESPN+

  • Friday, May 31 | Game 2 | Texas vs. Louisiana | 5 p.m. | ESPNU

  • Saturday, June 1 | Game 3 | Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser | 2 p.m.

  • Saturday, June 1 | Game 4 | Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner | 8 p.m.

  • Sunday, June 2 | Game 5 | Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser | 2 p.m.

  • Sunday, June 2 | Game 6 | Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner | 7 p.m.

  • Monday, June 3 | Game 7 | If necessary

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