CWS finals Game 1 notes: Texas vs. LSU

June, 22, 2009
Two of the most decorated programs in college baseball will go head to head when LSU and Texas face off in the 2009 College World Series championship series. The Tigers are looking for their sixth national championship -- all since 1991 -- while the Longhorns are going for their third title this decade and seventh overall.

LSU and Texas are playing for the bragging rights of both the schools and their respective conferences. If LSU claims the title, the SEC will be one of four conferences with two titles this decade; if Texas wins, the Big 12 will lead the way with three crowns. The only conference to boast two different national champions this decade is the WAC (Rice 2003, Fresno State 2008).

The action starts with Game 1 of the best-of-three series at 7 p.m. ET Monday (ESPN/ESPN360). Here is everything you need to know about the CWS final matchup.

TexasLSU TEXAS (49-14-1) vs. LSU (54-16)
7 p.m. ET | ESPN, ESPN360

NCAA ranking comparison (out of 288 teams)

  Texas LSU
Batting avg .289 (198th) .318 (65th)
Runs PG 6.1 (213th) 7.9 (47th)
Home runs 45 (165th) 103 (9th)
ERA 2.88 (1st) 3.99 (9th)
Fielding pct .977 (7th) .974 (18th)
Sac hits 102 (1st) 26 (186th)

Series history: Texas leads 22-8-1. The teams have met twice in Omaha, with LSU winning the opener in 2000 and Texas advancing to the championship game with a win in 1989.

Return of the Zen Master
After a three-year absence from Omaha, Augie Garrido led Texas back to the CWS finals for the third time in the past six years. Garrido is the only coach to win national championships with two schools, claiming three titles with Cal State Fullerton before winning with Texas in 2002 and 2005. In six trips to Omaha under Garrido, the Longhorns have played for the national title four times.

Paul Mainieri is the new kid on the block; in three trips to Omaha, this is the first time he has led his team to more than one victory.

Tigers roar again at Rosenblatt
While Texas has been in the spotlight for most of the decade, LSU had been quiet since winning it all in 2000. LSU won five national titles from 1991 to 2000 but struggled in the tournament since then. After going 1-6 in their past three trips to Omaha, the Tigers are 3-0 this year.

For once, the bracket holds
It has been six years since one of the national seeds claimed the national title (Rice in 2003) and two more since one of the top four teams dog-piled (Miami in 2001). Those droughts both will end this year, and Texas has a chance to be the first top-overall seed to win the crown since 1999 (Miami).

College World Series success

Program comparison
  Texas LSU
Appearances 33 (1st) 15 (T-9th)
Games 134 (1st) 52 (10th)
Wins 81 (1st) 33 (T-8th)
Win pct .605 (6th) .634 (3rd)
Titles 6 (2nd) 5 (T-3rd)
Runner-ups 5 (T-1st) 0 <
< LSU is 5-0 when playing for the national title

Coaching comparison
  Augie Garrido Paul Mainieri
Appearances 13 3
Games 53 9
Wins 37 5
Win pct .698 .556
Titles 5 0
Runner-ups 2 0

Who is the team of the decade?
While LSU clearly was the team of the decade in the 1990s, that label for the 2000s is still up in the air. LSU is looking to claim the final national championship of the decade to go along with its 2000 title. Texas already has two titles and a second-place finish this decade.

Texas won its first title in 1949, while LSU has done all of its damage in the past 20 years.

Texas pitching

• Texas freshman righty Taylor Jungmann picked up the victory in each of the first two games in Omaha for the Longhorns. With a win in the CWS finals, he will join nine other pitchers with three wins in one College World Series.

Pitchers with three wins in one CWS since 1985:
2008 -- Alex White, North Carolina
2003 -- *John Hudgins, Stanford
1989 -- *Greg Brummett, Wichita State
1985 -- Kevin Sheary, Miami

*Most Outstanding Player

• Longhorns ace Chance Ruffin struggled in his first start in Omaha, failing to make it out of the third inning Tuesday against Arizona State. With his next win, he'll match father Bruce's win total while at Texas.

• After struggling in his three appearances since his 13-inning outing against Boston College during the Austin Regional, Austin Wood picked up the win Friday to send Texas to the CWS finals.

This and that

• LSU (8-0) remains perfect in this year's NCAA tournament. No team has gone undefeated in the NCAA tournament since the championship series was established in 2003. (The last team to go undefeated in the NCAA tournament was Miami in 2001.)

The Tigers also will need to overcome the historical disadvantage of an extra day of rest; no Bracket One winner has won the national championship since Miami in 1999.

• Texas hasn't had the easy trip through the NCAA tournament that you would expect from the top national seed. The Longhorns have won four postseason games in their final at-bat this season (May 30 regional game against Boston College, May 31 regional game against Army, June 14 CWS game against Southern Miss and June 19 CWS game against Arizona State).

• On the other end of the spectrum, LSU has been pummeling its opponents while compiling a 13-game winning streak (since dropping the opener in the SEC tournament). During the streak, the Tigers have scored six or more runs nine times and scored first 10 times.

• LSU is 36-3 against right-handed starters this season. Texas has not started a southpaw in any of its 64 games this season.

Runners in scoring position in CWS

  Hits Stat line
6/13 vs. UVa 5-10 9 R, 2 HR, 3 K
6/15 vs. Ark. 2-12 5 R, 2 HR, 3 K
6/19 vs. Ark. 6-14 7 R, 4 K
CWS total 13-36 21 R, 3 HR, 11 K
6/14 vs. Southern Miss 2-9 6 R, 3 K, 5 BB <
6/16 vs. ASU 5-16 9 R, 1 HR, 4 K
6/19 vs. ASU 1-4 1 R, 2 K <<
CWS total 8-29 16 R, 1 HR, 9 K
< 3 with bases loaded
<< 2 of 4 runs scored on solo home runs

• Texas has had most of its success when its leadoff runner has gotten on base. Against Southern Miss, the Longhorns played small ball and scored five of their seven runs in innings in which the leadoff batter reached base. It wasn't small ball against Arizona State, but all 10 Texas runs in that game were scored in innings with leadoff runners. Friday was about the long ball for the Longhorns, as three of their four runs scored on solo homers.

• Neither team has been particularly successful with runners in scoring position. LSU has hit three homers with runners in scoring position, while Texas drew three bases-loaded walks in its opener against Southern Miss.

• LSU hit nine home runs in its first three games in the College World Series. Even more impressive was that seven contributed to that total. It likely would take a three-game series in the CWS finals, but the Tigers could contend for the record for most home runs in a CWS. They also are on pace to break into the top five in slugging percentage (.675 heading into the finals).

• The Longhorns' defense entered the College World Series ranked fourth in the nation in fielding percentage. They played their best baseball of the year during the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament but have committed seven errors and misplayed several other balls in their three wins in Omaha.

Texas' 2005 team vs. 2009 team

  2005 2009
ERA 2.80 (4th) 2.88 (1st)
Fielding pct .978 (3rd) .977 (7th)
Sac hits 116 (1st) 102 (1st)

• Texas won't blow you away with its offense, but this a typical Longhorns team with solid fundamentals. In fact, the numbers this year are right in line with those of the 2005 national championship team. With six sacrifice hits so far in the CWS, the Longhorns became the fifth team to reach 100 in a season (the third time Texas has reached that mark).

• Texas has 26 sacrifice hits in nine NCAA tournament games; LSU has 26 sacrifice hits in 70 games this season.


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