Super Regional: Back Home In Omaha

There must be some mistake, Vanderbilt head coach <B>Tim Corbin</B> said after the Horns wrapped up a Super Regional sweep and punched their return ticket to Omaha with a 10-2 win over his Commodores Saturday at the Disch. The numbers, he said, don't quite add up.

The numbers Corbin referred to were these: 25 runs, 30 hits and 12 extra base hits, including five homers (with two of those being "Monster" shots) in two games from a team that averaged just over .280 from the plate on the season with low power numbers. And doing it all against one of the top pitching staffs -- statistically, at least -- in college baseball.

1B Curtis Thigpen, who went three-for-four on the day with three RBI (tied for the team high with CF Drew Stubbs and pinch hitter deluxe Dooley Prince), said nothing has changed for the guys in the Orange and White, but that the Horns' hitters are simply showing their "true colors." Stubbs agreed, saying, "We've known we've had it in us all year."

And now is certainly an opportune time to let it show.

"We played our best baseball anytime this season these two games," Augie Garrido said post-game. "If this would have been a golf match, we would have shot in the low 50s."

Not only did the Texas bats remain on fire, UT's arms stayed steady. Sam LeCure (9-3) tossed a solid 5-1/3 innings, giving up four hits and two runs with five Ks, to pick up the win. Buck Cody, J. Brent Cox and Huston Street combined to shut down Vandy over the final 3-2/3.

"In the SEC, we play some good, good baseball teams," Corbin said. "Pitching, defense, offense, athleticism, they're as good as any team we've faced."

Garrido, though, did not overplay the accomplishment.

"Our season is just beginning," he said. "Everything we've done up to now is to get to this point and the whole thing starts now. The measuring stick for this program is Omaha. Winning in Omaha is the opportunity we have. That's all that matters to all of us and we're going to have fun with that. We're going to have the time of our life."

In Saturday's Super Regional clincher, Texas took a bit more time than in the opener to chase Vandy's starter. This day, Ryan Mullins made it through five, but he left the game with his team trailing 4-2. The Horns touched the sophomore lefty for single runs in the first and third and came through with a bit of insurance with a two-spot in the top of the fifth when Stubbs delivered UT's second "Monster" shot of the weekend, this one a two-run blast over the right corner of the centerfield wall.

Thigpen started things off with a solo shot in the first and added to the Longhorn lead with an RBI single in the third plus a sac fly RBI in the Horns' four-run eighth.

UT, though, used small ball as much as long ball in collecting 14 hits. Five of the 14 came by way of infield singles. But the surprise of the weekend to those that don't know this Texas team well -- like Corbin -- is that the Horns can indeed hit. And hit with power.

"We've shown power no one thought we had," the Texas head coach said. "And you can't win in Omaha without power. We've got plenty of power for Omaha."

The Horns now have the chance to prove it at Rosenblatt for the third straight season and the fourth time in five years. Texas (55-13) will face the winner of the Arkansas-Florida State Super Regional in Omaha on Friday, June 18.

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