The Texas Longhorns continued their NCAA baseball College World Series journey with an 6-2 win over Virginia on Thursday night in Omaha. Here are my three thoughts from the game as the Longhorns will play another elimination game on Friday evening.
1. Solid Pitching All Around
Pete Hanson took the mound for the Longhorns and had a fairly good outing against a solid Virginia team. Hanson lasted almost six full innings and struck out six batters while allowing two earned runs. Texas got what they needed from Hanson and then used Cole Quintanilla and Aaron Nixon to close the game out. Neither pitcher gave up a run and no more than two hits while on mound. Overall, it was a good night for Texas pitching.
2. Late Inning Bats
Going into the eighth inning, the game was tied at two. Then with two men on, Ivan Melendez singled to drive in Mike Antico to give Texas a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the eighth. With the score still 3-2 going to the top of the ninth, the Longhorns were able to add some key insurance runs. With the bases loaded, veteran leader Zach Zubia hit a big double that drove in all three runs and just like that, Texas had a commanding 6-2 lead. When it mattered most, Texas got the hits they needed in this ballgame. In crunch time, the Longhorns were simply better than Virginia. Both teams played well but the late innings are where Texas separated themselves. That’s what winning in Omaha is all about.
3. Survive and Advance
While it was nice to get the win for Texas, they can’t celebrate too long. Thursday was an elimination game, and they will face elimination once again on Friday with a familiar opponent. The Longhorns must beat Mississippi State twice if they want to advance to the College World Series Finals. Texas played the Bulldogs in their opener, and it went poorly as the Horns lost while striking out over 20 times in that game. The Longhorns will have to play much better if they are two beat this good Mississippi State team twice in two days. It’s a tall task and it will take a monumental effort to knockout the Bulldogs.