Photo Credit: © Mikala Compton / USA TODAY NETWORK
Texas has been to Omaha an astounding 38 times and they are looking to make that 39 times this season. David Pierce receives a lot of criticism at times from the fanbase but if he makes it to Omaha this year it will be his 4th appearance in the last 5 years. That is a feat that should not go without acknowledgment, as it’s a great achievement despite not yet bringing home the national championship.
While this season has not been perfect by any means, let’s remember the expectations prior to the season. Texas was replacing an historic offense and losing nearly every position player from last year’s lineup. Not to mention they lost ace Pete Hansen and starter Tristian Stevens as well. That is a lot to replace in one offseason, even as talented as the Texas program is. Some fans will say the expectation for Texas baseball is always Omaha. With that being said, a lot of fans would have signed up for another trip Omaha before the season, no matter the end result in Omaha. Let’s get into what the Longhorns need to do in order for them to make a return to the College World Series.
Host a Regional
Texas is a much different team at home, boasting a 23-7 record at Disch-Falk Field. Away from the friendly confines in Austin, they are 10-10. Texas has a great home field advantage and younger, less experienced teams play much better at home than on the road. Texas is currently projected as a 2 seed in the regionals. In order to slide into a host spot Texas needs to sweep San Jose State this weekend and either win 2 of 3 or get a sweep against West Virginia next weekend. It doesn’t stop there, Texas likely needs a deep run in the Big 12 Tournament the following weekend as well. The Longhorns have the ability to make this run and if they do, it will increase the chances of a return to Omaha dramatically.
Have an Effective Bullpen
The Texas bullpen this year has been hot and cold at times but has struggled with control. There have been several games where the bullpen just couldn't throw strikes and it ended up costing the Longhorns a game or series. The Oklahoma sweep comes to mind.... Lucas Gordon had a great start Friday night against the Sooners but the relievers just couldn’t throw strikes and Texas lost 2-1. There were other times - see the Baylor series - where they had a 5 run lead in the 9th and ended up squeaking out a one run win. These things cannot happen in the postseason or it will be a short run for the Longhorns.
The 2023 Texas offense has been erratic. In some games they score 16 runs, while in others they can only muster a run or two. With the way Lucas Gordon has been pitching this year he doesn’t need much support, but there have been multiple starts where he only gets one or two runs provided by the offense. The 'Horns have good hitters in players such as Dylan Campbell (who currently has a school record 27 game hit streak), and if Campbell and company can get some timely hits, this Texas team becomes a lot more dangerous in the post season.
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