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 sequence.
Key gamers Jalin Flores, Jack O’Dowd and Jared Thomas turned a 6-4-3 double play to present the Longhorns their closing win to conclude a comeback season of observe.The trio that recorded the ultimate outs of the common season noticed simply 40 at-bats on final yr’s group, all of which got here from O’Dowd as a bench bat, however previous expertise didn’t appear wanted to boost the trophy.
Thomas and Flores, each of their closing 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 sport 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’ residence run and three RBI led the Longhorns on a Saturday that might be remembered by two of the youngest Longhorns.
Regardless of being three video games again from No. 6 West Virginia heading into its weekend sequence and the ultimate matchup for every group, 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 sport 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 greatest pitcher, junior Ben Hampton, taking the mound on Saturday, Texas didn’t appear phased. Actually, WVU was the group pressured 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 Area.
After a 2022 season that noticed seven beginning hitters go away an Omaha-bound roster, head coach David Pierce needed to search deep to search out manufacturing from anybody, whether or not they have been bench gamers, at different faculties and even utterly new to varsity baseball. With a primary seed and presumably a regional spot on the road, Pierce despatched out a lineup that consisted of 5 Longhorns who weren’t on the roster previously 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 recent 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 yr’s Omaha run, not solely led the group within the clubhouse, however on the sector as properly. The pair led the group in runs, residence runs, and slugging proportion, and have been two of the 5 Longhorns with an OPS (on-base + slugging) over one.
The Huge 12 event, hosted in Arlington, kicks off on Wednesday, Could 24, and would be the closing check of the energy of the Longhorns earlier than regional play returns. At this level final yr, Texas was ranked because the fifth-best group within the Huge 12. That group ended up in Omaha, an honor that each group within the nation strives for all through a greater than 60-game season.