Texas Baseball Makes Final Preparations for NCAA Tournament
DALLAS -- The Texas Baseball team held a final practice and press conference Thursday afternoon at Dallas Baptist's Horner Ballpark in preparation for tomorrow's NCAA Regional tournament opener against the Oregon State Beavers at 1:30 p.m.
Texas enters its record 57th regional tournament as the No. 3 seed, with Dallas Baptist, Oregon State and Virginia Commonwealth coming in a Nos. 1, 2, and 4 respectively.
The Longhorns, who have won the last four regionals they've played in, will look to take a similar path to what they did in 2014.
En route to a top four finish at the College World Series last season, Texas found itself at another in-state opponents' field for regional play, then as the No. 2 seed in the Houston Regional hosted by the Rice Owls. Texas went on to win the region thanks to clutch hitting and outstanding pitching, a formula they hope to duplicate this season.
"We just have to throw to the mitt, execute our pitches and execute our game plan," said tomorrow afternoon's starting pitcher, senior Parker French. "We just have to trust [our game plan], and trust that will be enough."
Trusting the plan and the process is exactly what the Horns did last weekend while going 4-0 to win the Big 12 Championship, and the players are excited to be playing their best baseball at the right time when it is needed most.
"That's just the makeup of this baseball team," said French. "You saw it last year as well. A lot of these guys love playing this game together, and I don't think we wanted that to end last weekend."
Head coach Augie Garrido echoed French's statements. "Our baseball team decided to play its best baseball at the right time … we made consistently outstanding plays along with the routine plays to limit the number of base runners, and we did what we needed to offensively to have at least one more run than the other team four times. That wraps it up for us: pitching, defense and timely hitting."
Having already played -- and won -- "must win" games in the Big 12 Championship last weekend gives Texas confidence heading into the NCAA Tournament, but senior outfielder Collin Shaw knows winning again this weekend will be a challenge with a loaded Dallas regional.
"[Winning four games last weekend] definitely brings a bit of confidence to you," said Shaw. "But at the same time there are other teams in the regional. Everybody is in the postseason and everybody knows it is win or go home, so they are going to be ready to play. We are going to be ready to play. That's what makes it fun, the battle within the game."