When Texas pitcher Taylor Jungmann recorded the final out of Tuesday’s 5-1 defeat of LSU, sophomore Anthony Ranaudo stuck around.
“No time to waste,” he said. “Time to start stretching. One more game.”
As the sophomore right-hander worked his arm out near the home dugout, he reflected on the game that was.
“Coach [Paul] Mainieri told me Monday night back at the hotel that I would get the ball on Wednesday and not [Tuesday], so I had the mind frame that I would be pitching the last game if it came to that,” Ranaudo said, whose last appearance was a six-inning, no-run gem on Friday that knocked Arkansas out of the College World Series.
Of course, had Tuesday’s game played out in reverse, the right-hander knew that his name would be called.
“I could have come in late, and coach told me that if we had a comfortable lead he would put me in to close it,” Ranaudo said. “Unfortunately, we just never got to that situation.”
With his sight set on 6 p.m. Wednesday, what is running through the head of the Tiger ace?
“I am just ready to get out there,” Ranaudo said. “This is what I have worked hard for all year. The whole team has. As a pitcher, this is what you dream about. Coach is giving me the ball in a championship, winner-take-all game.
“That is the kind of challenge that I want in front of me.”
Pitching on four day’s rest, Ranaudo said he is as healthy and ready to go as ever.
“I feel great,” he said. “Like I told Coach, I was ready to go on Tuesday if he needed me.”
After seeing the Longhorn bats jump on Louis Coleman, Austin Ross and Ryan Byrd, what is the mindset of the New Jersey-native as he heads to the rubber Wednesday night?
“I know that Texas is solid, that is for sure,” Ranaudo said. “Those guys are aggressive and play hard, and that is what got them to the National Championship with us. They are going to swing it well, so I am excited to go up against that.”
With heads hanging low around the dugout following Tuesday’s defeat, the sophomore right-hander said that the mood would be a 180-degree turn come game three’s first pitch.
“You don’t have to tell our guys anything, because every one of them is ready to get back out there right now and win this for LSU,” Ranaudo said. “My trick is to let them feed off my confidence and energy when I am on the mound. I think everyone usually likes that.”
No matter how they got to the CWS final game, the bottom line remains the same.
“If coach would have come up to us in August and said we had one chance to play one game for the National Championship, we would have taken it,” he said.