A couple of weeks ago, the Texas Longhorns appeared headed for headed for the sidelines as far as their chances to play on in the 2015 college baseball postseason.
That was before they caught a burst of steam last week in the Big 12 postseason tournament and swept their way to a fifth postseason conference championship. It was the Longhorns first postseason league crown since 2009.
Texas came into the 2015 season with high expectations. The Longhorns were picked by the Big 12 coaches in the annual preseason poll to finish second behind TCU in the conference race. Texas was coming off of a College World Series appearance, one of three Big 12 teams to be among the final eight teams nationally last season, and returned many key contributors from that accomplished 2014 team.Jun 21, 2014; Omaha, NE, USA; Texas Longhorns head coach Augie Garrido greets Vanderbilt Commodores head coach Tim Corbin before game thirteen of the 2014 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
TCU made the coaches look prescient, finishing atop the league, as projected. Texas, on the other hand, came in a disappointing fifth in the league standings with a underwhelming overall record of 26-25 and just 13-11 in conference games prior to the postseason tournament.
The Longhorns are hoping to continue the momentum they mustered mowing down all four of their opponents in the conference tournament when they make their 57 NCAA postseason appearance and 15th in 19 seasons as a member of the Big 12.
Texas enters the 2015 NCAA postseason as the Big 12’s automatic qualifier as a result of winning the conference tournament. The Horns are joining regular-season champion TCU and regular-season and tournament runner-up Oklahoma State as Big 12 entries in this season’s NCAA Baseball Championship.
Throughout its rich baseball history, the Longhorns have done very well in the NCAA Championship. In the 14 seasons the Longhorns have made an NCAA appearance in baseball as a representative of the Big 12, they have advanced all the way through to the College World Series in eight of them, including last season. In nine of those seasons, Texas won its regional championship and moved on to the Super Regional round.
Off and on this season, coach Augie Garrido’s Longhorn team has battled injuries and slumps by several key players, but it appears to be getting things in order at just the right time. A healthy and confident Texas team can be a real threat in the NCAA Tournament.
“You can never predict the results,” Garrido told Big12Sports.com correspondent Wendell Barnhouse. “No one would have picked us to win the (Big 12) tournament.”
Texas is the No. 3 seed in the double-elimination regional being hosted by nearby Dallas Baptist, and has a date against Oregon State, the No. 2 seed in that region, on Friday. Dallas Baptist and Texas did not play this season, but DB did play four Big 12 teams, defeating Baylor twice and Oklahoma once and splitting two games with both TCU and Oklahoma State.
Don’t be surprised to see the Longhorns rise up to the occasion this weekend and keep their 2015 season alive for at least another week or two.