The Longhorns practiced in 100-degree heat this morning, in preparation for their Super Regional against Arizona State. Texas and the Sun Devils will play a best-of-three series, beginning on Friday. Here are some notes from the availability after practice
Head coach Augie Garrido has already got his pitching rotation set, and it’s a familiar one.
“We’ll start Taylor Jungmann on Friday, then Cole Green on Saturday and Sam Stafford on Sunday,” he said. “That’s because of the rest factor.”
Garrido is referring to this past weekend, where Stafford threw a combined 171 pitches in two games, Green threw 112 total pitches, and Jungmann only tossed 97.
It’s also the usual standard rotation for the weekends. In past postseasons, Garrido has liked to throw Jungmann in the second game of any series, so that he can either close out a best-of-three series (if the team had won the day before) or save the Longhorns from elimination (if they had lost the day before).
The past weekend’s pitch counts won’t permit that to happen this time. But it’s not such a bad thing — Jungmann is undefeated on Fridays.
With the series against the Sun Devils (42-16) looming, Garrido reminded the media that he’s not a guy to pay too much attention to what the other team does.
“We’re not a real over-the-top scouting team because we play within ourselves,” he said. “You want to avoid recognizing the opponent too much, because they you start to tell the players to be afraid and watch out for what they’re going to do instead of paying attention to what your own team does.”
But, he admitted, you have to know a little about your opponent.
“But there are some things you want to know — who can run, who hits with power, certain tendencies,” Garrido said. “You can look at numbers, and you can also talk to other teams that have recently played them. There may be some film on them, but it’s unlikely because they don’t film college baseball much.”
Pitching coach Skip Johnson, who has coached big leaguers Clayton Kershaw and Homer Bailey, says that Jungmann is the best he’s ever tutored.
“His attitude is above and beyond," Johnson said. "What I mean by that is he can make adjustments that it would take some guys a week to make. He can do it pitch to pitch.”
Tant Shepherd became the second Longhorn this year to be drafted by a Big Apple team when the Mets took him yesterday in the twenty-fourth round (the Yankees took Sam Stafford in the second round).
“I’ve honestly liked the Mets for a while, they used to be one of teams I watched and kept up with,” Shepherd said. “I was really excited when I got drafted — I had a good feeling I’d get drafted but didn’t know by what team.”
I actually left the house about 20 minutes before I got drafted, and my Dad called me to give me the good news.”
Shepherd, who is hitting .300 this year with a team-leading five homers, has greatly improved his draft stock this season since the Reds drafted him in the 47th round last year. An undersized first baseman, he may be switched to a different position in the majors.
“I haven’t talked about positions with them or anything,” he said. “I know last year Cincinnati wanted me to move over to second. I’m down with anything.”
Associate head coach Tommy Harmon — who is in charge of recruiting — says that it’s not too hard to get players to come to Texas.
“Texas recruits itself,” he said. “There’s not a lot you have to sell if you walk into this ballpark and see what’s here and see the tradition."
Multiple high schoolers who have signed for this year’s recruiting class with the Longhorns were drafted over the past few days. But potentially losing kids to the big leagues isn’t as frustrating or disappointing as some may think.
“We have a real good line on who’s going to sign and who's not,” Harmon said. “We’re trying to recruit guys who want first-round money but are third or fourth round picks. Or we’re trying to recruit guys who want to go to school and will go no matter where they’re drafted. When we lose high school kids, it is very seldom unexpected.