Intriguing Matchup Awaits Fans At Austin Regional

AUSTIN, Texas -- If nothing else, it's definitely an intriguing matchup.

When top-seeded Texas meets No. 4 seed Quinnipiac in the NCAA Austin Regional at 6 p.m. today at Disch-Falk Field baseball fans should be highly interested.

Texas will start 6-foot-10 freshman right-hander Kenn Kasparek on the mound. Quinnipiac will throw 6-9 junior righty Pat Egan.

Freak show? Circus? Call it what you want.

Kasparek is 6-0 with a 2.03 earned run average. Egan is 7-4 with a 4.28 ERA.

"I don't know if they are the tallest pitches in college baseball or not," said Quinnipiac coach Dan Gooley. "Pat might be, 6-10, too. I know I'm 5-10 and I have to jump up to touch his head."

The winner of the Texas-Quinnipiac game meets the winner of the Arkansas-Miami of Ohio game.

Quinnipiac (26-22) earned the automatic bid by winning the Northeast Conference. Texas (45-14) got an at-large bid after the Longhorns reached the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament.

"We have to play with no fear of failure," Gooley said. "It's great to be here playing against the University of Texas, one of the Top 5 college baseball programs in this country.

"It's an honor.

"As far as us being here. I know there's only 64 college ballclubs in this country playing and we're one of them. And we're the only one which starts with the letter Q."

Texas coach Augie Garrido again said he wasn't overlooking the Bobcats, although they are making their maiden voyage into the NCAA Tournament.

"Anything can happen in this tournament," Garrido said. "I don't think I'll have to tell my players to not overlook them. They've proved they deserve to be here."

Texas, the heavy-duty favorite, is hoping to get back starting catcher Taylor Teagarden. Teagarden, who's been out the past two weeks with a rib injury and pain in his right side, is considered a first-round pick in next week's draft.

"Taylor, he's gonna play," Garrido said. "It'll be hard to keep him out of there. We're a different team without him. He controls things defensively for us behind he plate."

Quinnipiac players seemed overjoyed about being here.

"It's exciting," said Bobcats junior first baseman Bryan Sabatella. "We're prepared all year to make a regional and now we're here. It's a new environment.

"We're ready to play."

Texas shortstop Seth Johnson doesn't think the NCAA Selection Committee simply threw Quinnipiac a crumb when it gave an invitation.

"Those guys got into the tournament for a reason, they deserved it," Johnston said. "I'm sure they want to advance in the tournament, too.

"They'll be ready."

Of course, it boils down to the pitching matchup between the two twin towers.

"I know everyone back home is expecting us to win," Egan said. "We'll do our best. We're excited to be here.

"We'll see what happens."

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