Texas, No. 1 FSU Set For Showdown In Supers

To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. That is approach the Texas baseball team (46-18) is taking as it hits the road en route to a Saturday showdown at No. 1 national seed Florida State (54-11-1) at 7:05 p.m. (Central) in Tallahassee.

With tradition in their pocket and a chip on their shoulder, the under-seeded Horns hope that recent history repeats itself: last year top-seeded FSU was upset in its own super regional as Notre Dame upended the host Seminoles. Should Texas advance to the College World Series, it would face the Miami-North Carolina State series winner on Saturday, June 14, at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha. With a win Saturday, head coach Augie Garrido would tie Longhorn legend Cliff Gustafson with 1,427 career wins.

Six of the eight national seeds advanced, but only Texas and Baylor represent the Big 12 in the super regionals.

The following best-of-three super regionals will begin Friday:

Baylor (44-21) at No. 2 Louisiana State (43-19-1)
Arizona State (53-12) at No. 7 Cal St. Fullerton (46-13)

Long Beach State (41-18) at No. 6 Stanford (44-15)

North Carolina (42-21) at South Carolina (42-20)

The four winners will open College World Series play on Friday, June 13.

In addition to the Texas-FSU matchup, the following super regional contests also begin Saturday:

North Carolina State (45-16) at No. 8 Miami (42-15-1)

Houston (36-28) at No. 5 Rice (51-10)
Southwest Missouri State (38-24) at Ohio State (44-19)

The four winners will play their first Omaha games on Saturday, June 14.

Four of last year's CWS participants can return to Omaha, including defending national champion Texas and national runner-up South Carolina. Rice also played in Omaha last year and Stanford is trying for its fifth consecutive trip to the championship. Baylor made its last CWS appearance in 1978.

ESPN and ESPN2 are slated to televise more than 30 hours of super regional action. All super regional games also are available through ESPN's College Grand Slam subscription package on many cable systems and satellite providers.


Sophomore Huston Street manned third base during both Sunday games of the Austin Regional, prompting local speculation if the reliever had supplanted J. D. Reininger at the hot corner for the rest of post-season play. Street, of course, helped shore up a shaky Texas infield at midseason (the team was averaging more than two errors per game). Coaches, though, openly hoped that Reininger would locate his comfort zone at third, leaving Street at full throttle to work his magic on the mound. The consensus was that both possessed comparable fielding skills but that Reininger (last year’s DH) carried the better bat.

But Reininger has struggled at the plate (partly the result of a nagging shoulder injury), having failed to hit safely during the last three games of the Big 12 Tournament and the first two games of the Austin Regional. Reininger also made a near-fatal throwing error in Saturday’s game against Lamar, resulting in two sixth-inning runs and a too-close-for-comfort 4-3 Longhorn lead heading into the ninth.

Reininger is, overall, an impressive talent but Street possesses the intangible of elevating his team’s overall level of play (defensively, at least) by his sheer presence on the field: whether it’s at third or on the mound. And despite a batting average typical of a pitcher (.147), Street came through with a clutch, RBI-single late in the second championship game Sunday.

Already nicknamed the Legacy, Street is a modest kid who nevertheless confidently told me last month that, physically, he can play both positions to help his team. (He also said that playing third is simply a matter of "reacting" and then "making the easy throw.") It’s just that those easy throws haven’t come as easily for the Texas infield this season.

Garrido has not designated a starting third baseman for Saturday’s Super Regional opener -- but the Burnt Orange crystal ball says Street will be at the hot corner.

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