Texas, Garrido On Top Of World With Sweep Of FSU

With two out and two on, it came down to Texas’ best pitcher squaring off against Florida State’s best hitter and the final College World Series berth at stake. Is this heaven? No, it’s the NCAA Super Regionals with the defending national champ Longhorns punching a return ticket to Om-a-ha!

In the end, the most disrespected team in college baseball team (Texas was seeded last among 16 Super Regional participants) swept the top-ranked Seminoles in their own backyard, 6-5, Monday. With the win, Texas (48-18) not only advances to Rosenblatt Stadium with a chance to claim consecutive national titles for the first time in 53 years, head coach Augie Garrido became the winningest coach in college baseball history with 1,428 wins, surpassing Longhorn legend Cliff Gustafson.

Texas opens College World Series play against eighth-seeded Miami in a Saturday evening ESPN telecast (6 p.m. CST).

"It was a championship type of game out there tonight and both teams battled hard," Garrido said. "I felt like both teams had the potential to win a national championship."

Senior Justin Simmons started for the Horns and contributed four innings of work. But freshman pitcher J. Brent Cox (6-0) picked up the win with four strikeouts, three hits and one walk in three innings on the mound. Meanwhile, sophomore Huston Street (God love him) was superb in two innings of relief. The sophomore Boy Wonder registered his 14th save of the year, and eighth of the post-season, when he forced FSU slugger Tony Richie to ground out to the mound to complete the two game sweep of the Noles.

"Texas is just a great ball club and they beat us out tonight," Richie said.

Street, who again started at third base, threw 28 balls to go along with his 79 pitches on Sunday. His 28th career save is a Longhorn record. FSU starter Matt Lynch was roughed up in the third and closed out his career with a 13-4 mark. FSU has now dropped three straight Super Regionals, including back-to-back setbacks in Tallahassee as the nation’s No. 1 seed.

Texas tallied nine hits on the evening and one error while the ‘Noles registered eight base hits and no miscues.

Blake Balkcom's triple, followed by junior SS Omar Quintanilla’s fielding error, gave the Seminoles a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Texas went quietly in the home half of the frame, while FSU’s Chris Hart opened the second inning with a solo shot and the first round-tripper against Texas this postseason. Just like Sunday’s contest, the ‘Noles staked a 2-0 lead.

But Texas would take the lead for good by playing short-ball in the second inning and long ball in the third.

Texas opened the second with a lead-off bunt single, followed by an infield single and a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third with no outs. Two outs later, a Lynch walk loaded the bases. That’s when Street drew a walk on four pitches to plate Texas' first run while 2B Tim Moss was hit by a pitch to knot the game at 2-2.

The third inning turned the tide for Texas. OF Dustin Majewski almost went the distance on a ball hit to the wall in deep center field. Although an out, you could sense that the Horns were about to tee off on Lynch. After outfielder Eric Sultemeier reached on a looping single into right field, consecutive batters went yard to give Texas the lead for good. Freshman C Taylor Teagarden’s two-run homer, followed by Curtis Thigpen’s solo shot gave Texas a 5-2 lead and sent Lynch to an early exit.

Not dead yet, Florida State staged a two-out rally in the top of the fourth. A Jerrod Brown walk, followed by Bryan Zech's RBI double cut the Texas lead to two. But Texas answered with a two-out RBI in the bottom of the fourth when Sultemeier singled to left field, scoring Moss.

FSU drew within 6-5 in the top of the seventh when Tony McQuade doubled to right and came home to score on Richie's two-out RBI single.

In the ninth, Street retired the first batters he faced before making things interesting by walking McQuade and allowing Balkcom a line drive into left field to put runners on first and second. That brought Richie (who already had 3 RBI on the night and was 4 for 8 in the Super Regional) to the plate.

And there it was…the best against the best and everything on the line. With a 1-1 count, Street fielded Richie's grounder, sprinted toward first base before slipping the ball to Thigpen to seal the deal for Texas.

For the storied Longhorn baseball program, it will be an NCAA record 30th CWS appearance.

Is this heaven? If it’s a June weekend in Omaha for the Horns, it certainly is.

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