After climbing itself out of a 4–7 begin to the 2023 season, Texas baseball proved themselves worthy of the Huge 12 title on Saturday night time, defeating No. 6 West Virginia in a full sweep collection.
Key gamers Jalin Flores, Jack O’Dowd and Jared Thomas turned a 6-4-3 double play to offer the Longhorns their remaining win to conclude a comeback season of notice.The trio that recorded the ultimate outs of the common season noticed simply 40 at-bats on final 12 months’s staff, all of which got here from O’Dowd as a bench bat, however previous expertise didn’t appear wanted to lift the trophy.
Thomas and Flores, each of their remaining video games of their first season, delivered when it mattered most. Alongside the double play to safe the 7-3 win and sweep over No. 6 West Virginia, the pair of younger stars delivered with their bats in a recreation that meant greater than any they’ve performed of their lives. Thomas scored three of Texas’ seven runs off of his three-for-five night time, and Flores’ house run and three RBI led the Longhorns on a Saturday that will likely be remembered by two of the youngest Longhorns.
Regardless of being three video games again from No. 6 West Virginia heading into its weekend collection and the ultimate matchup for every staff, Texas baseball got here in with confidence. By Friday night time, the Longhorns had scored 22 runs in two video games and have been only one recreation again from being Huge 12 champions, one thing that didn’t appear promising at many factors inside the common season.
Even with West Virginia’s finest pitcher, junior Ben Hampton, taking the mound on Saturday, Texas didn’t appear phased. In truth, WVU was the staff compelled to panic, because the 4 runs scored off of Hampton within the first inning have been the one runs Texas wanted to clinch the victory and hoist the trophy in entrance of 1000’s of followers decked out in burnt orange on the UFCU Disch-Falk Discipline.
After a 2022 season that noticed seven beginning hitters depart an Omaha-bound roster, head coach David Pierce needed to search deep to seek out manufacturing from anybody, whether or not they have been bench gamers, at different faculties and even fully new to varsity baseball. With a primary seed and probably a regional spot on the road, Pierce despatched out a lineup that consisted of 5 Longhorns who weren’t on the roster prior to now season, three of which have been freshmen.
The ultimate inning was entrusted to freshman right-hander Kobe Minchey and junior USC switch Charlie Hurley, whose floor ball pitch to West Virginia’s leadoff man Tevin Tucker secured the victory and despatched the Longhorns right into a frenzy of celebration.
Although the 2023 Longhorns story couldn’t be written with out the point out of latest faces like Thomas and junior transfers Porter Brown and Garret Guillemette, the veterans of the roster contributed greater than Pierce might’ve ever hoped for. Senior Eric Kennedy and junior Dylan Campbell, each key components of final 12 months’s Omaha run, not solely led the staff within the clubhouse, however on the sphere as nicely. The pair led the staff in runs, house runs, and slugging proportion, and have been two of the 5 Longhorns with an OPS (on-base + slugging) over one.
The Huge 12 match, hosted in Arlington, kicks off on Wednesday, Could 24, and would be the remaining check of the power of the Longhorns earlier than regional play returns. At this level final 12 months, Texas was ranked because the fifth-best staff within the Huge 12. That staff ended up in Omaha, an honor that each staff within the nation strives for all through a greater than 60-game season.