Though few predicted Texas to make it to the College World Series stage, making what many feel has been an improbable run, UC Irvine’s run has been even more improbable.
The Anteaters, led by 74-year-old head coach Mike Gillespie (better known for coaching the USC Trojans to the 1998 College World Series championship), enter their second College World Series after going 40-23 in the regular season and conference play.
UC Irvine, as the No. 3 seed in the regional round, defeated the regional’s No. 1 seed and No. 2 team in the nation, Oregon State, twice (14-2 and 4-2). The Anteaters then went on to defeat Oklahoma State in the Super Regional, the same team that knocked Texas out of the Big 12 Championship Tournament.
Coming off a sweep of Houston in the Super Regional, Texas enters its 35th College World Series (eighth under head coach Augie Garrido). It’s been a season of ups and downs, but Texas appears to have found its stride after navigating its way through a regional and super regional tournament that contained a surprising number of old SWC Conference foes.
The winner will go on to face Louisville or Vanderbilt in the winner’s bracket.