Category archive: Texas Longhorns

Texas ace Taylor Jungmann talks about his dominant season and trying to pick up a few more wins in the College World Series.

UCLA FansAP Photo/Jason RedmondUCLA earned the No. 1 national seed in our first attempt at predicting the NCAA tournament.

Are you ready for some baseball? Division I college baseball gets under way at 10 a.m. ET on Friday with the first two games of the Big East-Big Ten Baseball Challenge. If everything goes according to plan, one of the final games of opening weekend will feature Florida International's Garrett Wittels attempting to break Robin Ventura's 58-game hitting streak on ESPNU/ (Sunday, 7:30 p.m. ET).

While the first pitch of the season has yet to be thrown, it's never too early to start looking forward to June and the first College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Defending champion South Carolina lost its top two starting pitchers from last year's squad but returns a talented offensive core and has one of the best bullpens in the country. Last year's CWS field included several programs on the upswing. Arizona State was the only team from the 2009 field to return to Omaha in 2010; this year, the Sun Devils could be the only team not to earn a return trip to Nebraska. The talent level isn't down in Tempe, but unless the NCAA sanctions are reversed, ASU is barred from the postseason.

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Trevor Bauer
AP Photo/Nati HarnikESPN Preseason All-American Trevor Bauer leads a talented Bruins staff.

The 2011 season will see another change that could have an even bigger effect than the CWS' move three miles up 13th Street. College baseball is changing the specifications for aluminum bats from measuring the ball exit speed (BESR) to the coefficient of restitution (BBCOR). Early indications from fall practices are that power numbers will be down -- a lot. Small ball could become an even bigger part of the college game, which would favor several West Coast teams in a year when that region already appears to be extremely strong. Combined with the flipped orientation from Rosenblatt Stadium to TD Ameritrade Park -- where the wind is more likely to blow in than out -- pitching and clutch hitting could share the spotlight in late June.

Predicting the field, and especially the teams with the best chances at reaching Omaha, is tricky in mid-February. Using the 2010 preseason coaches' poll, only three of the top eight teams earned national seeds, and just two finished their season at Rosenblatt. Eventual national champion South Carolina and runner-up UCLA both started just outside the Top 25. High early-season expectations are usually enough to get into the tournament, as only East Carolina and Ohio State failed to make the field after appearing in the preseason Top 25.

This is the first time I've attempted to pick the field before the season started. My results at the end of last season were good but not great, but in some cases I favor my bracket to the official NCAA field. I was within one seed on six of the eight national seeds, overseeding Virginia by three spots and picking South Carolina over Georgia Tech for the final top-eight spot (with the way things played out, that looks like a good decision). Of the 34 at-large bids, I had 32 in my final bracket, and the two I omitted topped my "first nine out" section. California was my first team out (and most egregious miss, since it was the No. 2 seed in Norman) but went 0-2; Louisiana-Lafayette was my second team out and went 1-2 in the Austin Regional. The two teams from my bracket that missed regional play were Kentucky and Florida Gulf Coast; Kentucky had a solid RPI but missed the SEC tournament, while FGCU won the Atlantic Sun regular-season title in its first year of tournament eligibility behind ace Chris Sale but fell in the conference tournament. Of the 16 regional sites, I got two exactly right (Atlanta and Norwich) and three of four teams for three more (Auburn, Gainesville, Louisville).

Now that I've dispensed with the caveats, here's my initial projection:

Los Angeles Regional
No. 1 UCLA
San Diego
UC Irvine

   Conway Regional
   Coastal Carolina
   North Carolina
   Ole Miss

Austin Regional
No. 8 Texas
Southern Miss
Wright State

   Houston Regional
   Texas State

Fullerton Regional
No. 5 Cal State Fullerton
San Diego State
South Dakota State

   Stanford Regional
   Fresno State
   UC Riverside

Norman Regional
No. 4 Oklahoma
St. John's
Wichita State

   New Britain Regional
   Washington State
   Stony Brook

Fort Worth Regional
No. 3 TCU
Texas A&M
Jackson State

   Eugene Regional
   Georgia Tech
   Kansas State

Nashville Regional
No. 6 Vanderbilt
Kent State

   Clemson Regional
   Western Carolina

Charlottesville Regional
No. 7 Virginia
East Carolina
James Madison

   Columbia Regional
   South Carolina
   College of Charleston
   Oregon State
   Jacksonville State

Gainesville Regional
No. 2 Florida
Florida International
Florida Gulf Coast

   Tallahassee Regional
   Florida State
   Florida Atlantic

Last five in: Florida International, Nebraska, Western Carolina, San Diego State, Liberty

First nine out: Kentucky, Elon, NC State, Pittsburgh, Tulane, Oklahoma State, Cal Poly, Southeastern Louisiana, USC

With the exception of Arizona State, which is banned from the postseason, all the teams that played in the final CWS in Rosenblatt earn regional hosting assignments and No. 1 seeds, with the top four national seeds all gunning for a return to Omaha. The other four national seeds all fell 2-1 in super regionals last year, so this bracket is biased toward last year's elite teams. The road from opening day to Selection Monday is bumpy enough that the final field probably won't look like this, but there's a lot of returning talent from last year, and the top squads have reloaded quickly.

Eleven of the 30 conferences with automatic bids send more than one team to a regional. The usual suspects lead the charge, with the SEC (eight), Pac-10 (seven), ACC (six) and Big 12 (six) each in the running to send at least a half-dozen teams to the postseason. The Big East and Sun Belt seem poised to send three teams to a regional for the second straight year, while Conference USA and the Big West should pick up a third bid after only nabbing two last season. For the three conferences slated for two bids, there's one clear leader and one bubble team: Coastal Carolina (Big South), TCU (Mountain West) and College of Charleston (Southern) should be locks to make the field, but Liberty, San Diego State and Western Carolina could be on the wrong side of the bubble if they don't secure automatic bids.

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Danny Hultzen
Darryl Dennis/Icon SMIDanny Hultzen and the Cavs are focused on getting to Omaha this season.

Connecticut has the talent to earn a national seed, but the Huskies are in uncharted territory. Last year's great northern hope was Ohio State, and the Buckeyes failed to qualify for the Big Ten tournament after starting the year in the Top 25. UConn needs to overcome a tough early-season trip to California and a bull's-eye on its back during Big East play; that will make the Huskies stronger for postseason play but could cost them some wins and a top spot.

The order of finish for the SEC is always tough to determine, especially considering how quickly a strong recruiting class can pay dividends. Odds are that the eight teams that reach the SEC tournament in Hoover, Ala., will still be playing in June, but at this point it's hard to count any of the 12 teams out. The top three teams coming into the season are all in the Eastern Division, and it's unlikely that three teams from the same division would all earn national seeds -- much like the early part of the season last year, South Carolina draws the short straw.

The top half of the ACC seems more clear-cut, with Virginia, Florida State and Clemson jockeying for a national seed. Danny Hultzen and six returning hitters give Virginia an early advantage, but the Seminoles and Tigers aren't far behind. At least one of those teams should earn a top-eight spot, with the other two battling for the final spot with the SEC third-place team, the Big 12 second-place team and Connecticut.

The biggest issues for the Pac-10 could be the depth of the conference and Arizona State's postseason ban. The Sun Devils should still pile up wins this year, and every conference win is a lost opportunity for the other Pac-10 schools. The conference won't match its eight bids from last season; seven bids seems most likely, but if ASU sweeps any of the middle-of-the-pack teams, six bids is a possibility.

Three and a half months of action on the field before the NCAA tournament field is announced. Let the games begin!

Jeremy Mills is a researcher for ESPN and is a contributor to's college baseball coverage.

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OMAHA, Neb. -- After a nine-year wait, LSU is back on top in college baseball.

The Tigers won their sixth national championship Wednesday night, defeating Texas 11-4 in the deciding game of the College World Series championship series at Rosenblatt Stadium.

After striking out Texas center fielder Connor Rowe to end the game, LSU pitcher Louis Coleman threw his glove high into the air and was tackled by catcher Micah Gibbs. It didn't take long for the rest of the LSU players to join the dog pile on the mound.

It is the first national championship for LSU coach Paul Mainieri, a former Tigers player, who was hired in 2006 to return the program to prominence.

The Tigers blew a 4-0 lead against the Longhorns, but scored five runs in the sixth inning to blow the game open.

OMAHA, Neb. -- LSU is three outs away from winning its sixth national championship and first since 2000.

The Tigers added a run in the eighth inning on Ryan Schimpf's sacrifice fly, giving them a 10-4 lead over Texas in the deciding game of the College World Series championship series at Rosenblatt Stadium.

The Tigers' sixth national title would tie the Longhorns for second on the all-time list. USC has won 12 national championships.

OMAHA, Neb. -- Things are falling apart for Texas at Rosenblatt Stadium, as LSU scored five runs on only two hits in the top of the sixth inning.

After freshman Mikie Mahtook's RBI double gave LSU a 5-4 lead with no outs, Texas coach Augie Garrido replaced reliever Brandon Workman with freshman Austin Dicharry. On the next at-bat, catcher Micah Gibbs bunted to move Mahtook to third, but Dicharry threw wildly to first and Gibbs was safe.

Mathook scored on Derek Helenihi's sacrifice fly to left to make it 6-4, and then shortstop Austin Nola grounded out to second for the second out.

But Dicharry walked DJ LeMahieu to put runners at first and second, and then reliever Austin Wood hit Ryan Schimpf with a pitch to load the bases.

Wood then hit Blake Dean with another pitch, allowing Gibbs to score from third for a 7-4 lead.

LSU first baseman Sean Ochinko delivered the big hit in the inning with a two-run single to left to make it 9-4.

OMAHA, Neb. -- LSU freshman Mikie Mahtook, who had the game-winning hit in the 11th inning of the Tigers' 7-6 win over Texas on Monday night, delivered another big hit in Wednesday night's deciding game of the CWS championship series.

Mahtook hit Texas reliever Brandon Workman's full-count pitch into the right-center gap for a double, scoring Jared Mitchell from second for a 5-4 lead in the top of the sixth inning at Rosenblatt Stadium. Mitchell, whose three-run homer put LSU ahead 3-0, led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a passed ball.

Mahtook's RBI double chased Workman, who had been pretty solid the previous three innings. He was replaced by Austin Dicharry.

OMAHA, Neb. -- Texas right fielder Kevin Keyes, who left the bases loaded by striking out in the first inning, belted a two-run homer to left to tie the score at 4-4 in the fifth inning of the deciding game of the College World Series championship series.

After catcher Cameron Rupp led off the fifth with a sharp single to left, Keyes ripped LSU starter Anthony Ranaudo's first pitch over the left-field wall. It was Keyes' ninth homer of the season and second at the CWS.

The Longhorns have gotten a solid effort from relief pitcher Brandon Workman, who replaced starter Cole Green in the third inning. Workman, who was the losing pitcher in LSU's 7-6 win in 11 innings on Monday night, allowed Sean Ochinko's single to open the third, before retiring the next nine LSU hitters.

OMAHA, Neb. -- Texas cut LSU's lead to 4-2 with two runs in the bottom of the third inning in the deciding game of the CWS championship series at Rosenblatt Stadium.

After the Longhorns loaded the bases with two outs, LSU starter Anthony Ranaudo walked left fielder Preston Clark on a 10-pitch at-bat. Brandon Belt scored to make it 4-2.

Ranaudo got out of the bases-loaded jam when shortstop Brandon Loy grounded out to short with two outs.

The Longhorns made it 4-1 when Travis Tucker scored on catcher Cameron Rupp's grounder to short with one out.

Ranaudo walked four batters in the inning. The sophomore threw 43 pitches in the inning, putting his pitch count at 77 through three innings.

LSU freshman Mikie Mahtook, who had the game-winning hit in LSU's 7-6 win on Monday night, saved what could have been two runs in the inning with a running catch in deep center field. With runners at first and second, Texas DH Russell Moldenhauer hit a screaming liner in the left-center gap. Mahtook ran to his left and leaped to make the catch.

The Longhorns have stranded seven runners in the first three innings, leaving the bases loaded in the first and third.

OMAHA, Neb. -- Texas sophomore Brandon Workman has replaced starting pitcher Cole Green in the top of the third inning in the deciding game of the CWS championship series.

The Longhorns trail the Tigers 4-0 after two innings. Green allowed five hits and four earned runs in two innings with no walks and one strikeout.

Workman pitched 1 2/3 innings and was the losing pitcher in LSU's 7-6 win in 11 innings in Game 1 on Monday night.

OMAHA, Neb. -- LSU left fielder Ryan Schimpf hit an RBI single up the middle to make it 4-0 going in the bottom of the second inning in the deciding game of the CWS championship series at Rosenblatt Stadium.

The Tigers already have five hits off Texas starter Cole Green, who seems to be in pretty big trouble after only two innings. Texas' bullpen was up during the top of the second inning, and Longhorns coach Augie Garrido is going to have a pretty quick hook with so much on the line.

Green, who pitched well in his previous two CWS starts, just doesn't seem to be fooling the Tigers' hitters very often.