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 night time with a ninth inning walk-off double from Mississippi State, however the loss takes nothing away from a outstanding season for the Longhorn baseball program.
The Longhorns completed the yr with a 50–17 file, their first season hitting the 50-win mark since 2010, and only one sport shy of the School World Sequence finals. Texas battled by means of 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 in opposition to Virginia and Ivan Melendez’s three-RBI homer within the high of the ninth in opposition to Mississippi State. Although 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 mentioned Saturday night time. “I’m actually pleased with this complete staff, 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 due to a flexible and deep pitching group led by D1 All-American Ty Madden. The redshirt sophomore got here up massive for the Longhorns throughout their World Sequence run, pitching 13 innings and recording 18 strikeouts. He confirmed large guts Friday night time 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 yr. 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 response to head coach David Pierce.
Madden and Stevens each confirmed nice poise on the mound all yr 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 probably headed off to begin their skilled careers, Pierce mentioned they laid the muse for the pitching group’s tradition within the years to come back.
“I feel greater than something that I’ve been so happy with is simply the management from Ty (Madden) and Tristan (Stevens),” Pierce mentioned. “This group, beginning final spring, began actually creating that perspective that we had been on the lookout for.”
Freshman pitchers Tanner Witt and Aaron Nixon had been in a position to 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 sport in opposition to Tennessee within the School World Sequence. The previous extremely touted recruit shut out the Volunteers by means of 5 and two-thirds innings pitched.
Nixon discovered a house with the Longhorns this season serving because the staff’s nearer, taking strain off the bullpen when it got here all the way down to closing a sport out within the late innings. Antico mentioned 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 better in baseball, and (Nixon’s) received all of the makings of it,” Antico mentioned. “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 lots.”
Though it wasn’t the result Longhorn followers had been on the lookout for, there’s nonetheless lots to stay up for with this younger squad, particularly three freshman pitchers who nonetheless have lots to show.
“The long run’s vibrant,” Pierce mentioned. “The 2 massive freshmen in Witt and Nixon, and also you have a look at (freshman Lucas) Gordon, he’s proper there shut (to) being the subsequent weekend man. Simply quite a lot of constructive issues.”