Texas to travel to Miami to open its appearance in NCAA's 2023 baseball tournament

The Texas dugout celebrate a run in the first inning of the Longhorns' game against the Texas State Bobcats at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin, April 11, 2023.
The Texas dugout celebrate a run in the first inning of the Longhorns' game against the Texas State Bobcats at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin, April 11, 2023.

For the Texas Longhorns, the road to Omaha begins in Florida.

Texas learned on Monday that it had been placed in the Coral Gables regional for the opening weekend of the NCAA's baseball tournament. Texas (38-20) is set up to see Louisiana (40-22) in its tournament opener on Friday. Maine (32-19) and the host Miami Hurricanes (40-19) are this regional's other participants.

Miami is the ninth overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The winner of the Coral Gables regional will advance to face the survivor of a regional that features Stanford, Texas A&M, Cal State Fullerton and San Jose State. That regional is being held at Stanford's ballpark.

"It's just an opportunity for us to get out there and compete against three good teams," said senior outfielder Eric Kennedy, who is one of two Floridians on the Texas roster. "I know we're all looking forward to it."

For the past week or so, Texas had held out hopes of hosting a regional for the third straight year. Texas finished the regular season on a tear, and a sweep of West Virginia gave the Longhorns the top seed in the Big 12's postseason tournament. Texas head coach David Pierce repeatedly argued that in itself was enough to guarantee a weekend of postseason baseball in Austin.

The NCAA's selection committee disagreed. After doing itself no favors with a 0-2 performance at the Big 12 Tournament, Texas was not among the 16 regional hosts revealed by the NCAA on Sunday night. One day later, the Longhorns learned that they'll be packing for a trip to Coral Gables.

"We kind of just have that bad feeling still in our mouth," outfielder Dylan Campbell said. "We're gonna go take that anger that we had after losing (at the Big 12 Tournament) and just take that into regionals, be able to let that fuel us going into the next week."

The Longhorns have reached the College World Series in each of the past two seasons. Texas lost the bulk of its lineup and two key pitchers from last year's team, but it rebounded to win 38 games and a share of the Big 12's regular season championship.

"A lot of people saying things about rebuild and stuff like that, but we just found a way to win," pitcher Tanner Witt said earlier this month. "It's just a hell of a ride, and we're not done yet. We're going to keep going."

On the road for a regional for just the fifth time in the last 20 years, Texas boasts a combined record of 61-27 against the other three teams playing in Coral Gables. The Longhorns, however, last met Maine in 1996, and UT's most-recent game against Louisiana was played in 2019. Texas and Miami haven't run into each other since the 2003 College World Series.

This season, Miami posted an 18-12 record in league play in an Atlantic Coast Conference that also featured Wake Forest, the top overall seed in the tournament field, and Clemson and Virginia teams that will be hosting regionals this weekend. Louisiana boasted a top-50 RPI. Maine won the American East Conference's regular season and tournament titles.

"It's postseason so you've got to go into it expecting that every team is good," Campbell said. "We've got to bring our A-game if we want to come out of it. So that's kind of how we're going into it."

Texas and Louisiana are scheduled to play at 2 p.m. ET on Friday afternoon in a game that will be televised on LHN. Miami and Maine will open their regional runs later that evening. The double-elimination competition is set to wrap up on either Sunday or Monday.

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Texas travels to Miami for regional round of NCAA baseball regional