The Texas Longhorns and the Anteaters of the University of California at Irvine will meet Wednesday night at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha in a rematch of their opening game in the 2014 College World Series.
Only this time, one of the teams will be eliminated from college baseball’s road to the national championship.
UC Irvine (41-24) stole the first game with the Longhorns, scoring three times in the eighth inning to overcome a 1-0 Texas advantage and hand the Horns a 3-1 opening-game loss. That sent the Longhorns on to an elimination game against Louisville. Texas prevailed in that game 4-1, behind a strong four-hit pitching performance by starter Parker French, as Louisville became the first team sent packing in this year’s CWS,
As a result of its win over Texas, UC Irvine advanced to the winner’s bracket and a follow-up date with Vanderbilt. The Anteaters played the Commodores tough, despite being outhit in the game 11 to 3. Vanderbilt won 6-4, setting the stage for the second meeting in this College World Series between Texas (44-20) and UC Irvine.,
On paper, UC Irvine might be the most improbable of the eight teams that made it all the way to Omaha and the 2014 CWS. But the fact that the Anteaters defeated Oregon State, the overall top seed in the NCAA Baseball Championship, in the regionals, and followed that up by knocking Big 12 regular-season champion Oklahoma State out of the tournament on the road in the super regionals, makes them deserving of where they are and a dangerous team that is playing its best and at the best time of the year.
The Longhorns would be the first to attest to that, having lost earlier in the CWS to this very UC Irvine team.
With starters Nathan Thornhill and Parker French having already pitched in the first two games, and Dillon Peters out for the rest of the season with an elbow injury, Texas is expected to go with sophomore Chad Hollingsworth on the mound in the rematch with UC Irvine.
Hollingsworth has pitched mostly in relief this season. He has started only one game, has a 3-0 record with an impressive 1.36 ERA over 46 1/3 innings. He pitches to contact and is not a strikeout pitcher, but he has been very effective in a relief role for the Longhorns.
This is Texas coach Augie Gasrrido’s 15th appearance in the College World Series, the last eight of which have been with Texas. The Longhorns are the winningest program in CWS history with 83 all-time wins in a record 35 appearances.
Although UC Irvine is making only its second CWS appearance, its coach, Mike Gillespie, has been there four times in a 20-years stint at the University of Southern California.
Some quick stats to consider in advance of Wednesday night’s CWS rematch:
- Texas is 32-28 all-time in CWS elimination games.
- Longhorn coach Augie Garrido is 19-9 in CWS elimination games.
- Texas is 44-10 when scoring two or more runs this season.
- Texas is 40-7 in 2o14 when it scores at least three runs.
- The Longhorns are 36-4 in 2014 when leading after the seventh inning.
- Texas closer Travis Duke has given up just one earned run in 28 1/3 innings of relief.