Texas Longhorns really ARE the best team in college baseball
All doubts are erased and Texas emerge as the legitimate number one NCAA baseball team in the country after handing the LSU Tigers an emphatic defeat
Coming into Saturday’s game against LSU, the Texas Longhorns were the unanimous number one team in the nation. Prior to the weekend’s Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic, the quality of their opponents had been questioned, but comprehensive wins over 17th ranked Tennessee and now the 7th ranked Tigers have eliminated any lingering doubts. Texas really ARE the best team in college baseball.
That is not to say that they are without fault. They rode a little bit of luck and got some questionable strikes called on the outside, but seeing as how the outside pitch was given all night, and given both ways, you have to conclude that it was really Texas’ capitalizing on opportunities, and LSU’s failure to do so, that was the real difference between these two sides.
The two Longhorn home runs, a three run shot in the second by Douglas Hodo and a solo shot by DH Murphy Stehly in the eighth, were merely the punctuation marks on their win. Even without those four runs, they outplayed the Tigers all night.
The other two Texas runs were taking advantage of LSU’s errors, and that shows the difference between a good young team and a great veteran team. LSU’s lineup is mostly freshman and sophomore players, which bodes well for the future in Baton Rouge. If they can play to the level that they are playing with still two or three years to improve, the Tigers future certainly looks bright.
“Huge win for us,” Texas head coach David Pierce said after the game. “That's a very good team. They can really hit. To hold them to one run is pretty special.”
The bottom of the ninth showed a bit of late threat to the Longhorns, but LSU’s night was illustrated in perfect technicolor when a deep blast, but not quite deep enough, ricocheted off of the center fielder’s glove and was caught by the right fielder. The out was overturned when replay revealed that the ball had touched the wall, giving LSU a baserunner. Cade Doughty hit a shot past third for a double, giving the Tigers men on second and third when Jacob Berry grounds a routine out to end the inning. In all, the Tigers left twelve runners on base. Texas left only five. And this comes back to capitalizing on opportunities.
Tristan Stevens had a stellar night on the mound, pitching seven shutout innings. The Longhorns outfield was outstanding and specifically Eric Kennedy in left field, who had an eye catching night in front of an enthusiastic Texas crowd of nearly 25,000. Big time players make big time plays. Winners rise to the occasion, and the Longhorns are the real deal.
This is becoming a special weekend for the Longhorns, as they lay waste to the doubts and stake yet another rightful claim to be considered a legitimate contender for what would be the program’s seventh national championship. This is one LSU fan who is now a true believer.
Watch the entire game on courtesy of the Houston Astros twitter page.