AUSTIN (KXAN) — After clinching the Big 12 title this weekend, No. 2 Texas baseball is in an even better position to host a regional, as well as a potential super regional in the NCAA Tournament.
The Longhorns enter this week’s Big 12 tournament as the No. 1 seed, which creates the easiest path for them to win the conference tournament championship along with its regular season crown.
Even though they’re guaranteed at least a berth in the regional, an impressive performance in the conference tournament will solidify playing more games at UFCU Disch-Falk Field as host of a regional, like UT softball did over the weekend.
That’s not necessarily on the minds of the players — at least for now.
“We know where we’re seeded and what the plan looks like,” pitcher Ty Madden said. “Our goal right now is to take it day by day and win this first game of the conference tournament and win the second of five championships, that’s where we’re focused right now.”
Madden, who was named Big 12 pitcher of the year on Monday, revealed that he will start the first game of the tournament on Wednesday.
Fatigue is a concern this time of year, especially for pitchers, but Madden believes he will be good to go for the conference tournament and beyond.
“I am going game one, I don’t know about a pitch count. My body feels good and I’ll have eight or nine days until the regional starts, so I’m sure I’ll let it fly like every week.”
However, for head coach David Pierce, managing the roster for the tournament will create a balancing act with pitchers and position players.
Building a top 5 resume’ over the regular season, the Longhorns are not as desperate for wins as some of the teams they will face this week, meaning that keeping the team as fresh as possible is just as important as winning.
“It’s a little bit tricky because you’re going to compete against teams that are do or die,” Pierce said. “We’re going to compete at the highest level as we can, but also be smart. You don’t want to portray it like that to your team, you want the team to feel like we’re doing everything at all costs to win the game.”
Thanks to a walk-off walk from West Virginia to beat Kansas Tuesday night, Texas will open up Big 12 tournament against West Virginia Wednesday at 4 p.m.