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Longhorns fall in need of School World Sequence title, stay optimistic for future

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Amsal Madhani, Sports activities Reporter

July 5, 2021

Editor’s Observe: This text first appeared as a part of the June 28 flipbook.

Texas’ season got here to a painful finish Saturday evening with a ninth inning walk-off double from Mississippi State, however the loss takes nothing away from a exceptional season for the Longhorn baseball program.

The Longhorns completed the 12 months with a 50–17 document, their first season hitting the 50-win mark since 2010, and only one recreation shy of the School World Sequence finals. Texas battled by a number of rain delays in Omaha to win three straight elimination video games, with event highlights together with Zach Zubia’s three-RBI double within the high of the ninth inning towards Virginia and Ivan Melendez’s three-RBI homer within the high of the ninth towards Mississippi State. Though Texas got here up quick, they left the CWS with their heads held excessive.

“I imply, it sucks to lose that means, but it surely was an unbelievable season,” redshirt senior outfielder Mike Antico stated Saturday evening. “I’m actually pleased with this complete workforce, the coaches and the gamers. It was a hell of an expertise.”

Whereas the Texas offense had a bevy of clutch moments, the Longhorns persistently thrived on the mound this season because of a flexible and deep pitching group led by D1 All-American Ty Madden. The redshirt sophomore got here up huge for the Longhorns throughout their World Sequence run, pitching 13 innings and recording 18 strikeouts. He confirmed large guts Friday evening in a win over Mississippi State, throwing six innings on quick relaxation and giving up solely two runs.

Nevertheless it wasn’t simply Madden who captured the highlight this 12 months. Redshirt junior Tristan Stevens earned All-Large 12 First Workforce honors after recording a career-high 77 strikeouts on the season. He was additionally exponentially essential as a veteran chief on a younger Texas squad, in keeping with head coach David Pierce.

Madden and Stevens each confirmed nice poise on the mound all 12 months lengthy and set the usual for what to anticipate from the youthful guys coming in that should fill their footwear on the mound. With each possible headed off to begin their skilled careers, Pierce stated they laid the muse for the pitching group’s tradition within the years to return.

“I feel greater than something that I’ve been so happy with is simply the management from Ty (Madden) and Tristan (Stevens),” Pierce stated. “This group, beginning final spring, began actually creating that perspective that we had been in search of.”

Freshman pitchers Tanner Witt and Aaron Nixon had been capable of be taught from Madden and Stevens all through the season. There have been some nice flashes proven by each gamers, as Witt pitched tremendously in a pivotal elimination recreation towards Tennessee within the School World Sequence. The previous extremely touted recruit shut out the Volunteers by 5 and two-thirds innings pitched.

Nixon discovered a house with the Longhorns this season serving because the workforce’s nearer, taking strain off the bullpen when it got here right down to closing a recreation out within the late innings. Antico stated a part of the rationale Witt and Nixon loved early success of their school profession was their aggressive spirit as former place gamers.

“It takes a particular cat to be a more in-depth in baseball, and (Nixon’s) received all of the makings of it,” Antico stated. “My factor for Tanner (Witt) and (Aaron) Nixon each is that they had been each place gamers. They had been two-way guys. They perceive the mentality of a place participant, and so they convey that very same work ethic into pitching, and I feel it actually helps them quite a bit.”

Though it wasn’t the end result Longhorn followers had been in search of, there’s nonetheless quite a bit to sit up for with this younger squad, particularly three freshman pitchers who nonetheless have quite a bit to show.

“The longer term’s shiny,” Pierce stated. “The 2 huge freshmen in Witt and Nixon, and also you take a look at (freshman Lucas) Gordon, he’s proper there shut (to) being the following weekend man. Simply a variety of optimistic issues.”