Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Big 12 Orientation: UT-Austin Baseball

"I told you, I'm FINE to DRIVE! Now gimme my damn KEYS!"

UT-Austin Baseball at-a-glance:
-Program founded: 1894
-6 national championships (most recent: 2005)
-34 College World Series appearances (most recent: 2011)
-55 NCAA Tournament appearances (most recent: 2011)
-77 conference titles (7 in the Big 12)
-15 conference tournament championships (4 in the Big 12)
-9 college baseball hall of famers
-4 Dick Howser Trophy winners
-55 1st team All-Americans

History with TCU: The Horned Frogs and Longhorns have met 279 times on the diamond, with UT-Austin holding a commanding 219-58-2 lead in the series. The two teams haven't played each other in Fort Worth since 1997, although the 'Horns have deigned to play in Tarrant County on a number of occasions by granting the Frogs permission to host them at The Ballpark in Arlington, most recently in 2001.  The two teams had an agreed to play a home & home pair of non-conference games in 2009, but at the last minute Augie Garrido bravely backed out of taking his team to Lupton.  Fate, and the NCAA Tournament committee, forced the teams together down in Austin two years in a row for the Super Regionals.  The Longhorns prevailed two games to one in '09, and the Frogs earned their first trip to Omaha by taking two of three from UT-Austin at Disch-Falk in '10.  They celebrated the series win by dog-piling on the Longhorn logo in center field, eliciting quite a bit of butt hurtedness out of the puke orange and white faithful. 

Notable former Longhorns:

  • Roger Clemens.  Just like O.J. Simpson didn't kill his wife, the non-asshole Clemens did not do steroids...

  • Wayne Graham.  He's the head coach now at Rice, where he won a national title in 2003.

  • Brooks Kieschnick.  He's the TJ Ford of Longhorn baseball.

  • Calvin Schiradli.  He took the L for the Red Sox in Games 6 and 7 of the '86 World Series

  • Huston Street.  Not to be confused with Houston Street in downtown Fort Worth.


Recent History: When legendary coach Cliff Gustafson abruptly "retired" after being caught misusing funds from his annual baseball camps in 1996, he was the NCAA's all-time winningest coach.  To replace him, they selected Cal State Fullerton head coach Augie Garrido, who would later break Gustafson's record in 2005.  After having won three national titles at Fullerton, Garrido became the first coach to win titles at two different schools when UT-Austin won it all in 2002.  Two years later, the Longhorns lost to Fullerton in the championship series and Garrido and his team refused to accept their runner-up trophy or take part in the presentation.  So sportsmanship is definitely big with him.  They won it all again in 2005, and have been back to Omaha in 2009 (after Garrido's DUI arrest) and 2011.  This year's team, however, was the first UT-Austin baseball team not to make the NCAA Tournament since 1998.

Outlook for next year:  If you were like me and got a chuckle out of the Longhorns being left out of the NCAA Tournament, enjoy it while you can.  This year's team was decimated by injuries- incluing a season-ender to ace pitcher Sam Stafford before they even took the field- and suspensions.  The MLB Draft didn't hit their current roster nearly as hard as it did some other teams in the top half of the Big 12, and they- like TCU- got some big contributions from some young guys.  Third baseman Erich Weiss, who hit .350 this year and led the Longhorns with 38 RBI, leads a batting order that returns mostly intact and will be under the direction of a yet to be named new hitting coach next year.  Corey Knebel (2.08 as a sophomore this year) and Parker French (2.84 as a freshman) are slated to be the front-end of what will likely be another dangerous Longhorn pitching staff.  I'd expect them to be right in the thick of the Big 12 title hunt in 2013.

Daily Discussion: A cure for senioritis?


Channel 4 ran a story last night about a new tactic being employed by the TCU admissions department to curb incoming students from slacking off in their final semester of high school.  If a prospective students' final transcript shows a sharp decline in quality after they were accepted to TCU, they are now being asked to explain themselves.  In some cases, their admission can be rescinded.

 What do you think- is this a noble move by TCU to insure that students arrive on campus with the correct mindset for academic achievement, or is this a scheme to improve incoming students' GPA so that the admissions department folks can be asked to speak at the next conference they attend?  Is senioritis a problem that extends into a student's time in college, or is it a relaxed victory lap that kids deserve before heading off to face the next challenge in their young lives?



Morning Dump


Basketball:

Trent Johnson and his Frogs face stiff test in stepping up to Big 12 play Star-Telegram

Frogs to take part in November tournament on South Padre Island Bloomington Pantagraph

Hank Thorns works out for Nuggets coaches Denver Stiffs

JR Cadot works out for Bulls & Rockets Bahamas Tribune


Baseball:

TCU officially hires ex-Astro Saarloos as pitching coach Star-Telegram


Track & Field:

Whitney Gipson a finalist for the Bowerman Award Star-Telegram




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