OMAH, Neb. (KXAN) — Despite losing their opening College World Series game, the Texas Longhorns are in about as good a position as they could’ve hoped for as they head into their second straight win or go home game on Thursday against Virginia.
“To be in the loser’s bracket, 1-1, we’re in pretty good shape with our arms right now,” Texas baseball coach David Pierce said.
That’s because Texas has used just four pitchers through two games, which has its bullpen fresh and ready to go when called upon.
Pete Hansen, who has been UT’s traditional No. 3 starter for a majority of the season, came out of the bullpen on Sunday in Texas’ opening loss to Mississippi State. He only threw 26 total pitches in two shutout innings. Combining that efficient outing with four days rest — Pierce could very likely tap him to start against the Cavaliers.
“We feel like we have Pete [Hansen] ready to go if that’s who we go with,” Pierce said. “We still gotta talk about it. And you’ve still got a lot of guys fresh.”
Setup man Cole Quintanilla and closer Aaron Nixon haven’t seen action yet in Omaha. With Hansen having already pitched, albeit in limited action on Sunday, Pierce might be quicker to pull him in place of a fresh Quintanilla.
The Longhorns are hoping to replicate the offensive performance they had against Tennessee after a dismal showing against Mississippi State. After striking out 21 times and totaling just four hits against the Bulldogs, they bounced back with eight runs on seven hits to eliminate the Vols Tuesday.
Virginia and Texas have have looked like mirror images of each other in Omaha, at least in the win-loss column. UVA beat Tennessee 6-0 to open its run in the College World Series, but got sent to the loser’s bracket with a 6-5 loss to Mississippi State on Tuesday.
That loss to MSU was a crushing one for the Cavs. Virginia jumped out to a 4-0 lead through the first two innings, and starting pitcher Griff McGarry had a no-hitter going into the eighth inning. The Bulldogs broke up the no-no with a two-run homer, but UVA still had a two-run lead.
Two batters later, after Stephen Schoch came on in relief of McGarry, MSU took a one-run lead on a three-run homer. In all, Mississippi State scored six runs in the eighth to ultimately send Virginia to the loser’s bracket setting up a date with Texas in an elimination game.
Where to watch
Virginia vs No. 2 Texas
When: Undetermined Thursday (weather delay)
Where: TD Ameritrade Park (Omaha, Nebraska)
Listen: 104.9 FM The Horn/1260 AM