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What UVA Baseball fans need to know about Texas

college world seriesIt’s do-or-die time, again, for Virginia, which is 6-0 in elimination games in the 2021 postseason, but this one feels different after the come-from-ahead 6-4 loss to Mississippi State on Tuesday night.

OK, shake it off, that one’s over, Thursday is a new day.

Texas (48-16) is fresh off an 8-4 win over Tennessee in an elimination game on Tuesday. The #2 national seed has a win over the Vols in common, and also a loss to Mississippi State – the Longhorns dropped their CWS opener, 2-1, on Sunday night.

The ‘Hoos and ‘Horns lock up Thursday at 7 p.m. for the chance at a rematch with the Bulldogs on Friday.

Starting pitching

I’m expecting Texas coach David Pierce to go with 6’2” freshman lefty Pete Hansen (9-1, 1.79 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 74K/21BB in 85.1 IP, .199 opponent batting average).

Hansen got two innings in the loss to MSU on Sunday in relief, holding the Bulldogs scoreless on two hits, striking out one.

He got the win in the regional clincher over Fairfield back on June 6, going six innings, giving up two runs, one earned, on six hits, striking out 13, with no walks.

This would be his 14th start in 2021. He’s not given up more than three runs in a start this season, and he did that – giving up three – just once, way back on April 14, against Nevada.

Bullpen

Pierce can go in two directions to close things out. 6’1” freshman righthander Aaron Nixon (3-3, 8 saves, 2.35 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 34K/8BB in 30.2 IP, .216 opponent BA) has only seen the ball twice in the postseason, but he’s put in two clean innings.

Another freshman, 6’5” righty Tanner Witt (5-0, 5 saves, 2.75 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 73K/22BB in 55.2 IP, .195 opponent BA) tends to go longer – each of his three appearances has gone at least two innings, and he went five and two-thirds on Tuesday in relief of starter Tristan Stevens, which may mean Witt is unavailable for Thursday, unless things are absolutely beyond desperate for Pierce.

Other guys to watch for:

  • 6’5” sophomore righty Cole Quintanilla (4-0, 1.29 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 36K/10BB in 35.0 IP, .154 opponent BA)
  • 6’1” freshman lefty Lucas Gordon (0-0, 3.32 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 19K/9BB in 21.2 IP, .197 opponent BA)
  • 6’1” senior righthander Palmer Wenzel (3-0, 3.32 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 13K/9BB in 21.2 IP, .268 opponent BA)

If things go squirrely, Pierce could go to his ace, 6’3” sophomore righty Ty Madden (7-5, 2.42 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 129K/41BB in 107.2 IP, .188 opponent BA) to eat up two or three innings in middle relief.

The lineup

The order has five guys with .400+ OBPs, four guys in double-digits in homers, and the Longhorns slash .278/.397/.442 as a team.

Pretty good.

Who to watch for:

  • Second baseman Mitchell Daly (.325/.419/.430, 2 HR, 31 RBI)
  • DH Ivan Melendez (.316/.434/.596, 12 HR, 46 RBI)
  • Third baseman Cam Williams (.301/.418/.582, 11 HR, 49 RBI)
  • First baseman Zach Zubia (.291/.415/.500, 10 HR, 57 RBI)
  • Centerfielder Mike Antico (.271/.440/.495, 10 HR, 44 RBI, 40-of-44 SB/SBA)
  • Leftfielder Eric Kennedy (.257/.337/.360, 4 HR, 27 RBI, 18-of-22 SB/SBA)

Story by Chris Graham


Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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