AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns were sent off in style Wednesday as the team met with fans before it departed to Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series.
Cheers of “Texas! Fight!” rang loudly while Longhorns head coach David Pierce spoke with reporters in front of UFCU Disch-Falk Field as players mingled with eager fans and signed autographs before starting the trip to college baseball’s promised land.
Pierce said he’s treating the CWS, at least the first portion of it, as another regional tournament. This time around, however, it’s not Louisiana Tech, Dallas Baptist or Air Force on the other side — it’s two bitter rivals and one of the hottest teams in the country in Notre Dame, Texas’ first opponent.
“That’s all we’re doing,” he said. “We’re going to play a regional against Notre Dame, [Texas] A&M and Oklahoma. We’re not even concerned about the other side.”
Pierce plans to turn his ace, Pete Hansen, in the CWS opener against the Fighting Irish. Hansen is coming off an uncharacteristic performance against East Carolina in the first game of the super regional series, but Pierce isn’t worried about his All-American lefty.
“We’re not worried about his make-up, work ethic and routines,” Pierce said. “You just never know how kids are going to perform, but every time Pete toes the rubber, we have a really good chance to win.”
Hansen took some lumps against the Pirates, allowing five earned runs on seven hits in just four innings pitched in a 13-7 loss, just Hansen’s second of the season. But he’s one of the main reasons why the Longhorns are where they are at — competing for a national championship — and Pierce is going with his guy every single time.
“He’s a great Friday night starter, and he’s proven that,” Pierce said, “and he’s going to command the ball hopefully.”