For the first time since 2011, the Texas Longhorns will play in the College World Series.
Despite being outhit in the contest, Texas beat the Houston Cougars, 4-0, at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Saturday to win its Super Regional and earn a trip to Omaha for the first time in three years.
“Once again, it’s about runs, not hits,” Texas head coach Augie Garrido said. “They had 10 hits, we had eight, but it was about runs.”
The Longhorns broke things open in the fourth inning as they batted around, scoring four runs on six hits in the frame.
C.J Hinojosa, who has been phenomenal throughout the NCAA Tournament for Texas, singled to right field with the bases loaded to drive in the first two runs of the afternoon.
“[Hinojosa’s] hit broke the game open and started the momentum,” Garrido said.
From there, Collin Shaw and Kacy Clemens each drove in a run to clear the bases and give Texas a four run lead.
Those runs proved to be all the Longhorns would need on the day, as the Texas pitching staff combined to shut out the Cougars.
Junior Parker French got the start for the Longhorns and pitched six shutout innings, giving up just five hits.
“I wasn’t going to let these guys down today,” French said. “I didn’t want to lose this game. It was just pure will power, pitching for my teammates.”
Travis Duke, Morgan Cooper and John Curtiss came out of the bullpen for the Longhorns and gave up a total of six hits over the final three innings.
While Houston failed to score any runs, they threatened several times. The Cougars loaded the bases on multiple occasions but each time Texas was able to slam the door, stranding 14 Houston runners in the contest.
“They had the bases loaded a couple of times, and it didn’t work out for them,” Garrido said. “But that’s many times what separates two good teams. On any given day, the balls you hit hard don’t always fall.”
The Longhorns will now make their 35th College World Series appearance, but it will be the first for many players on the team. Of the 27 players on this year’s roster, only four were on the squad that went to Omaha in 2011.
“We just have to play our game [in Omaha],” said senior centerfielder Mark Payton, who was a member of the 2011 team. “The team that relaxes is the team that’s going to win the game. My job is just to keep these guys relaxed and make sure they’re having fun.”