The Texas Longhorns baseball program is no stranger to the College World Series. The program itself will be making its 34th appearance in the event.
Head coach Augie Garrido has been in Omaha 12 times, winning five national championships. Three of those championships came with Cal State Fullerton, and the last two were with Texas.
Led by Augie and several veteran leaders on the team, no one is going to be awestruck by the spectacle of the College World Series.
The Longhorns' run to Omaha began in their home regional in Austin. After opening the regional with a 5-3 win over Princeton, Texas fell behind the eight ball with a 7-5 loss to Kent State.
They beat Texas State the next day, 4-3, and then came roaring back, beating Kent State twice in the regional final by scores of 9-3 and 5-0 to move on to the super regional.
In the super regional, Texas again faced adversity. They dropped the opening game in the series against Arizona State by the score of 3-1. Worse yet, ace pitcher Taylor Jungmann had worked that game and lost.
The Longhorns again responded, this time by coming back and beating the Sun Devils in the next two games by scores of 5-1 and 4-2.
The secret to the Longhorns' success really isn't much of a secret. They pitch as well as anyone in the nation. As a team, they have a 2.27 ERA.
They are led by workhorse ace Taylor Jungmann. Jungmann has a 13-2 record with a 1.38 ERA. There are few, if any, better in all of college baseball.
Behind Jungmann, the Longhorns turn to Sam Stafford and Cole Green. Stafford has a 6-2 record and a sparkling 1.72 ERA. Green, a senior who has been through countless battles in postseason play for this program, went 8-3 with a 3.03 ERA.
In the bullpen, the incredible talent continues. Closer Corey Knebel has 19 saves and a 1.15 ERA. There isn't much of a drop-off after that, either.
The ERAs of Nathan Thornhill, Kendal Carrillo, Hoby Milner, Josh Urban and Andrew McKirahan read as follows: 1.69, 2.45, 2.53, 2.65, 2.95.
The staff as a whole has 555 strikeouts in 599.2 innings pitched.
The Texas offense really isn't anything to write home about and that has been the story for a few years now. As a team, they are batting .272.
That isn't to say that they don't have talent there.
Big 12 Freshman of the Year Erich Weiss leads the team in hitting with a .358 batting average and 44 runs batted in. Veteran leader Brandon Loy has a .344 average and 19 stolen bases. Tant Shepard, a senior, has a .305 average, five home runs and 40 RBI.
The Longhorns are battled-tested, and I think that bodes well for them in Omaha. They have faced some adversity and responded well.
As their ace, Jungmann will do his best to keep them out of the loser's bracket. If they end up there, they have the requisite pitching to make a run through it.
Texas will struggle to score runs against some of the elite pitching they will see. It will be up to veterans like Loy and Shepard to get hot and get the team going. If they do get hot, Texas has the pitching to win it all.