The road to Omaha began last week as 64 teams started their postseason journey. Now the field has been cut down to just 16 as we head to the Supers. The Texas Longhorns started their Super Regional in Greenville, North Carolina to take on East Carolina. Here are my three thoughts on the Longhorns win over the Pirates on Saturday afternoon.
1. The Pitching Wasn’t There
Going into the Super Regionals I talked about how dominant Texas has been on the mound. They breezed through the regionals against Air Force and Louisiana Tech but have seemed to run into some trouble against East Carolina. Don’t get me wrong the Pirates can definitely hit but I have been a bit surprised of just how badly this pitching staff has struggled in the first two games. On Friday Pete Hansen couldn’t get things figured out and on Saturday Lucas Gordon didn’t play his best. Gordon started the game and gave up four earned runs in just four innings of work. Even closer Andre Duplantier gave up a game tying home run in the ninth inning. If Texas is going to win game three, then they need to get some better pitching.
2. The Bats Stayed Hot
On Friday Texas scored seven runs in a 13-7 loss to East Carolina. That should have been more than enough to win the game but due to some pitching issues, it wasn’t. On Saturday, the Longhorns continued to hit well at the plate as they jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to Murphy Stehly and Austin Todd. While they had some trouble during the middle innings, Texas woke up in the eighth inning. In that inning, Texas was down 7-4 before Skyler Messinger and Dylan Campbell both went yard to tie the game up at seven. Then with a tie game in the bottom of the ninth inning, Dylan Campbell came up clutch once again as he knocked in the game winning run with the bases loaded.
3. It’s Win or Go Home
After Friday’s loss to East Carolina, I wasn’t sure how this Texas team would respond but even with their backs against the wall they found a way to force a game three. When they were down by a few runs going into the eighth inning I thought they would fold but they just keep fighting back. Even when the Pirates tied the game in the ninth inning, Texas never blinked and kept on going. They will need that same fight on Sunday because there is now just one game that stands in the way between them and trip to Omaha.