Why Texas Will Win The Series

A hopeful look ahead to the 2009 College World Series Finals

The University of Texas is a rarity in college baseball.

Whereas many teams have a consistently effective starting rotation and closer, the period between the two represents a drop off. Not so for the Longhorns, who will have closer Austin Wood (2.30 ERA, 15 saves) ready for extended work throughout the three-game series.
 
While LSU has a better front half of the rotation than does Texas, the Longhorn staff is more solid throughout.

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Consider: LSU’s No. 2 starter, Anthony Ranaudo, posted a 15-3 record in 2009, with a 2.87 ERA. The number 3, Austin Ross, was 6-7 with a 5.09 ERA. Ross has struggled through three innings in the CWS, surrendering seven hits and three runs.
 
Granted, unless Texas can steal a win from either Ranaudo, or number one Louis Coleman (a fifth round draft pick), this will be a moot point. If Texas can extend the series, though, it will likely play to their advantage. None of Texas’ regular starters have posted an ERA above four.
 
They will need every bit of pitching they can get. The Tigers have proven to be an offensive juggernaut, capable of burying teams with any portion of their lineup.
 
But if the series comes down to emotion, which it seems to fairly regularly, Texas should have the edge. The Longhorns won two heart-wrenching comeback victories on the way to their first appearance in the finals since 2005, when they won it all.
 
The Tigers, on the other hand, had little in the way of resistance on their way to the final series. With their offense providing (more than) ample support, LSU has won thirteen straight, without the emotion that has categorized UT’s run.
 
This could be read as an indication of LSU's superiority. But this, friends, is also a double-edged sword. Think 2008 New England Patriots, who won so decidedly on their way to the Super Bowl that, somewhere along the line, they fell vulnerable to the team who got through on nail-biters, emotional finishes and a general us-against-the-world mindset.
 
These LSU Tigers will also have considerably more experience in Omaha than do the Longhorns, with eighteen players and six starters returning from last year’s squad; however, there is little doubt that Texas’ young team will be prepared.
 
This will be Augie Garrido’s eighth championship appearance, meaning, for our purposes, that he probably has a good grasp on preparing a young team for the spotlight and pressure of the finals.
 
Garrido has won five national championships. Paul Mainieri of LSU, to this point, has none. 
 
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen: Texas wins in three, and my quota for bold, somewhat irresponsible predictions for the month of June has been met.
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