No. 2 Baseball preview: NCAA Austin Regional

June 3, 2021
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TEXAS (42-15) at the NCAA AUSTIN REGIONAL June 4-7, 2021 Where: UFCU Disch-Falk Field Time: Friday at 1 p.m. TV: Longhorn Network Radio: 104.9 FM The Horn/1260 AM Live stats: NCAA Tournament Appearances (last): 60 (2018) All-Time NCAA Regional Record: 145-57-1 PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS Texas RHP Tristan Stevens […]

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June 4-7, 2021
Where: UFCU Disch-Falk Field
Time: Friday at 1 p.m.
TV: Longhorn Network
Radio: 104.9 FM The Horn/1260 AM
Live stats:
NCAA Tournament Appearances (last): 60 (2018)
All-Time NCAA Regional Record: 145-57-1

Texas RHP Tristan Stevens (9-3, 2.99) vs. Southern LHP Jacob Snyder (1-2, 6.94)

THE MATCHUP—Texas heads into the NCAA Division I tournament as the No. 2 national seed and will host Arizona State, Fairfield and Southern to UFCU Disch-Falk Field for the NCAA Austin Regional this weekend. The Longhorns will face Southern in the opening game of the regional on Friday at 1 p.m. CT. This will be the second all-time matchup between the two programs, having previously met in the 1988 NCAA Central Regional in Austin with the Longhorns winning, 7-3. Texas holds a 29-19 series lead over Arizona State, including a 14-8 record in Austin. The programs last squared off in the 2011 Super Regionals at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, with the Sun Devils prevailing in the first game, while the Longhorns claimed games two and three to advance to Omaha. Texas has yet to face Fairfield.

A LOOK AT THE LONGHORNS—Texas went 2-2 in last week's Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship, falling to eventual runner-up Oklahoma State on Saturday, 5-4. First baseman Zach Zubia garnered All-Tournament honors after batting .400 (6-for-15) with a pair of multi-hit games, registering a double, one RBI and two walks over four games. The Longhorns won their ninth Big 12 Championship on Saturday, May 22, clinching a share of the regular season championship with a 12-2 run-rule win over West Virginia. The Texas pitching staff has compiled a 2.95 ERA, which ranks No. 2 nationally and first in the Big 12 by over a run. The starting pitching trio of Pete Hansen (1.88), Ty Madden (2.66), and Tristan Stevens (2.99) all rank in the top six in ERA in the Big 12, while Stevens' nine wins lead the conference.

BIG 12 PITCHER OF THE YEAR—Ty Madden was named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year leading into the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. Madden compiled a 2.66 ERA and a 6-4 record in 14 starts this season. He struck out 103 batters in 88 innings pitched and has the best opponents' batting average in the league at .195. Madden is the Longhorns' first Big 12 Pitcher of the Year since Taylor Jungmann in 2011 and the seventh Longhorn overall.

ALL-BIG 12 HONORS—Ty Madden led a total of 13 Longhorns named to All-Big 12 teams this season. Right-handed pitcher Tristan Stevens, second baseman Mitchell Daly and designated hitter Ivan Melendez join Madden on the first team. Third baseman Cam Williams and outfielder Mike Antico both landed on the second team. Seven other Longhorns picked up Honorable Mention recognition: Silas Ardoin, Trey Faltine, Pete Hansen, Douglas Hodo III, Aaron Nixon, Tanner Witt, Zach Zubia. First-year Longhorns Daly, Nixon and Witt all landed on the Big 12 All-Freshman team. The 13 total players recognized leads the Big 12 and are the most for Texas since 2005.

BIG 12 COACH OF THE YEAR—For the second time in his five seasons at Texas, head coach David Pierce led the Longhorns to the Big 12 regular season title and was named the league's coach of the year. The award is his fourth overall as a head coach after receiving the honor twice in the Southland Conference while leading Sam Houston.

DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS—It's an old adage that played out well in Texas' quest toward a Big 12 Championship and can be a recipe for postseason success. The Longhorns 2.95 ERA leads the Big 12 Conference by more than a run and currently ranks second in the NCAA. Texas' .980 fielding percentage also leads the Big 12 and is the 15th-best percentage in the nation. The squad has committed a conference-low 44 errors while also turning 43 double plays, the second most in the Big 12.

MOUND PRESENCE—The Texas pitching staff has been among the most dominant groups in the nation. Three Texas starters rank in the top-six in the Big 12 Conference in earned run average, with Pete Hansen leading the conference with a 1.88 ERA. Ty Madden sits in fifth with a 2.66 ERA, while Tristan Stevens' 2.99 ERA ranks seventh. As a staff, the Longhorns have the second-best ERA in the nation at 2.95, a mark that leads the conference by more than a run.

FLASHING THE LEATHER—Trey Faltine has been a human highlight reel this season, making the difficult look routine. The Longhorns shortstop leads the Big 12 with 167 assists and ranks fifth with 28 double plays while sporting a .976 fielding percentage in 245 chances.

MAKING A BIG IMPRESSION—After a relatively quiet start to the season, Ivan Melendez caught fire in the month of April. For the month, Melendez hit .412 with eight doubles, one triple, eight home runs, 27 RBI and 16 runs scored. In that span, he compiled a .529 on-base percentage and .912 slugging percentage for an OPS of 1.441. He raised his batting average from .263 to .344 during the 19 games. From April 3-11, he established a program-record six-game home run streak that culminated with a pair of bombs against Kansas State on April 11. For his efforts in April, he was named Big 12 Player of the Week, National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Hitter of the Week, and Big 12 Co-Newcomer of the Week.

MR. CONSISTENT—With a pair of base hits against Oklahoma State on Saturday in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Championship, Zach Zubia extended his streak of reaching base safely to 33 games. During the streak, Zubia has hit .327 with six doubles, two triples, six home runs and 27 RBI, while walking an incredible 31 times for a .483 on-base percentage. Zubia has 12 multi-hit games and eight multi-walk games during the run, including four three-hit games, one three-walk and one four-walk game. On the season, the redshirt junior's 44 walks are fourth in the Big 12 Conference and rank 23rd in the NCAA.

QUICKER THAN QUICK—Mike Antico leads the Big 12 Conference and is 11th nationally with 24 stolen bases. Eric Kennedy is right behind him with 17 steals to rank third in the conference. As a team, the Longhorns have swiped 64 bases, which is third in the conference and ranks 41st in the nation. Additionally, Kennedy uses his speed regularly to get on base with 22 infield singles, including 12 bunt hits this season. In his career he has 46 infield hits (24 bunts).

DALY GETTING IT DONE—Mitchell Daly has had a breakout season at the plate, reaching base safely in 45 of the 49 games he has started this season with 15 multi-hit games, including three three-hit games and a four-hit game. Daly's .331 batting average is tied for 12th in the Big 12 Conference. The freshman is currently tied for the team lead in batting average and hits (58), while sitting third on the Longhorns in doubles (13), fourth in on-base percentage (.411), and fifth in OPS (.851), slugging percentage (.440) and total bases (77).

COMMANDING THE ZONE—Tristan Stevens' command has been on point this season, yielding only 12 walks over his last 80 innings pitched. Prior to issuing a walk to open the sixth inning at Oklahoma State on April 24, Stevens had gone 113 batters (28 1/3 innings) without relinquishing a free pass. Stevens' nine wins on the year lead the Big 12 Conference.

HEAR 'EM—In partnership with Learfield IMG College, Texas games will be broadcast on the Austin Radio Network, primarily on 104.9 The Horn and AM 1260. Craig Way handles primary play-by-play duties alongside Roger Wallace.

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