No. 2 Baseball preview: NCAA College World Series

June 18, 2021
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TEXAS (47-15) at the NCAA COLLEGE WORLD SERIES June 19-30, 2021 Where: TD Ameritrade Park Time: Sunday at 6 p.m.; Tuesday at TBD TV: ESPN2 Radio: 104.9 FM The Horn/1260 AM Live stats: NCAA College World Series Appearances (last): 37th (2018) All-Time CWS Record: 85-61 PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP […]

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June 19-30, 2021
Where: TD Ameritrade Park
Time: Sunday at 6 p.m.; Tuesday at TBD
Radio: 104.9 FM The Horn/1260 AM
Live stats:
NCAA College World Series Appearances (last): 37th (2018)
All-Time CWS Record: 85-61

Texas RHP Ty Madden (7-4, 2.41) vs. Mississippi State RHP Will Bednar (7-1, 3.53)

THE MATCHUPS—Second-seeded Texas arrives in Omaha as the highest remaining seed in the NCAA Tournament and is slotted in the bracket with No. 3 Tennessee, No. 7 Mississippi State and Virginia. The Longhorns will open College World Series play on Sunday at 6 p.m. CT against Mississippi State, then face either Tennessee or Virginia on Tuesday. Mississippi State advanced to the College World Series with a three-game defeat of Notre Dame in the Starkville Super Regional after sweeping their way through the Starkville Regional. Tennessee is riding a five-game winning streak after sweeping the Knoxville Regional and Super Regional, while Virginia defeated Dallas Baptist in three games at the Columbia Super Regional after winning the Columbia Regional in five games. The other side of the College World Series bracket includes No. 4 Vanderbilt, No. 5 Arizona, No. 9 Stanford and NC State.

A LOOK AT THE LONGHORNS—Texas swept through the NCAA Austin Super Regional against South Florida, winning in a ninth-inning walk-off, 4-3, on Saturday, then with a dominant 12-4 victory on Sunday. The Longhorns have won all five NCAA Tournament games, sweeping through the Regional and Super Regional rounds for the second time in program history. In the Regional round, the Longhorns outscored Southern, Arizona State and Fairfield by a combined score of 33-5. The 33 runs were the second-most scored by the Longhorns since the current four-team regional format began in 1999 and the most since scoring 58 runs over five games in the 2005 Austin Regional. The Texas pitching staff has compiled a 2.89 ERA, which ranks No. 1 nationally and leads the Big 12 by over a run. The starting pitching trio of Pete Hansen (1.84), Ty Madden (2.41), and Tristan Stevens (2.97) all rank in the top six in ERA in the Big 12, while Stevens' 11 wins lead the conference and are the sixth-most in the NCAA.

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 PITCHER OF THE YEAR—Ty Madden was named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year leading into the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. Madden has compiled a 2.41 ERA and a 7-4 record in 16 starts this season. He has struck out 119 batters in 100.2 innings pitched and has the best opponents' batting average in the league at .189. Madden is the Longhorns' first Big 12 Pitcher of the Year since Taylor Jungmann in 2011 and the seventh Longhorn overall.

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 has played out well in Texas' journey to a record 37th College World Series appearance. The Longhorns 2.89 ERA leads the NCAA by a quarter of a run and the Big 12 Conference by more than a run. Texas' .980 fielding percentage also leads the Big 12 and is the 13th-best percentage in the nation. The squad has committed a conference-low 47 errors while also turning 49 double plays, tied for the 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 1.84 ERA. Ty Madden sits in second with a 2.41 ERA, while Tristan Stevens' 2.97 ERA ranks sixth. As a staff, the Longhorns have the best ERA in the nation at 2.89, a mark that leads the conference by more than a run.

MR. CONSISTENT—With a ninth-inning RBI-single against South Florida on Sunday in the NCAA Austin Super Regional, Zach Zubia extended his streak of reaching base safely to 38 games. During the streak, Zubia has hit .324 with seven doubles, two triples, seven home runs, 35 RBI and 30 runs scored while walking 32 times for a .451 on-base percentage. Zubia has 13 multi-hit games and eight multi-walk games during the run, including five three-hit games, one three-walk and one four-walk game. On the season, the redshirt junior's 45 walks are fourth in the Big 12 Conference and rank 29th in the NCAA.

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 184 assists and ranks second with 33 double plays while sporting a .971 fielding percentage in 273 chances.

DALY GETTING IT DONE—Mitchell Daly has had a breakout season at the plate, reaching base safely in 50 of the 54 games he has started this season with 16 multi-hit games, including three three-hit games and a four-hit game. Daly's .321 batting average is tied for 15th in the Big 12 Conference. The freshman is currently tied for the team lead in batting average, is second in hits (62) and tied for third in doubles (15), while sitting fifth in on-base percentage (.417), slugging percentage (.430) and OPS (.847) and seventh in total bases (83).

ANTICO CREATING CHAOS—Mike Antico is second in the nation and leads the Big 12 Conference with 39 stolen bases, the most for a Longhorn since 2002 (Tim Moss, 40). His 39 steals are tied for seventh by a Longhorn in a single season and 10 shy of the program record. Antico has also walked 60 times this season, the second-highest total in the nation and the most in a season for a Longhorn since Wylie Campbell had 64 in 1994. The redshirt senior stole four bases against Fairfield in the NCAA Austin Regional Championship, the first Longhorn to swipe four bags in a game since 2016 (Joe Baker vs. Stanford, Feb. 26). In Texas' five postseason games, Antico has walked nine times, stolen 10 bases and has now reached base safely in 25 consecutive games.

INFIELD HIT MACHINE—Throughout his career on the Forty Acres, Eric Kennedy has used his speed as a means to get on base. This season is no different, with 26 infield singles, including 15 bunt hits. In his career, Kennedy has 50 infield hits (27 bunts). He's not the only speedy Longhorn, as Texas has 31 total bunt singles this season. Douglas Hodo II has seven bunt hits, Mike Antico has four, Mitchell Daly has three and Trey Faltine has two.

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.

COMMANDING THE ZONE—Tristan Stevens' command has been on point this season, yielding only 14 walks over his last 92.2 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. On the season, Stevens leads the Big 12 with 11 wins and 103 innings, while the 19 walks he has yielded this year are the sixth fewest among starting pitchers in the conference.

HAMMER KEEPS HAMMERING—Cam Williams has been crushing the ball all season and is currently second on the squad with 11 home runs, including a pair from each side of the plate against Oklahoma on March 27. His 20 doubles this season lead the Big 12 and rank 16th in the NCAA. The redshirt junior is second on the team in RBIs (47), slugging percentage (.596), OPS (1.020) and total bases (112), while sitting third in batting average (.303) and on-base percentage (.424).

PIERCE AT THE HELM—David Pierce will be making his second College World Series appearance as a head coach and sixth overall. Pierce led the Longhorns to the CWS in 2018 and was an assistant with Rice in four CWS (2003, 2006-08), including as part of the staff for the Owls' 2003 College World Series championship team.

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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