Teagarden Will Play In Regional Opener Friday

Junior Taylor Teagarden will play in Texas' NCAA Regional opener Friday against Quinnipiac, head coach Augie Garrido confirmed. The first-team All-Big 12 catcher has been sidelined since injuring his rib cage against Texas A&M on May 20.

"He's going to play," Garrido said. "He's decided that. He had a hard time getting me to agree to that."

By his own estimation, Teagarden is about "80 percent" heading into the 6 p.m. first pitch against the fourth-seeded Bobcats, Teagarden said Thursday.

"I'll be out on the field (Friday), for sure," said Teagarden, who has logged 50 starts during Texas 45-14 season. "I'm getting better on a daily basis. The last few days, I've been going through the motions and trying to turn it up a notch. But I'm going to be playing this weekend and contributing in whatever way I can."

Teagarden brings a team-leading on-base percentage (.447) back into the lineup as well as overall batting average of .316. More important, he brings a defensive presence behind the plate that Texas sorely missed when it went 2-2 for a third-place finish in last weekend's Big 12 Conference Tournament. A pair of backups, freshman Todd Gilfillan and sophomore Clay Van Hook, combined for six passed balls during the event while Teagarden owns one of Texas' top fielding percentages (.992) this season.

"It was hard seeing the team play on TV while I was at home watching it," Teagarden said, after Baylor came from behind to edge, Texas 9-8. "It was tough not being able to contribute and seeing the Baylor game slip away. But now that I'm back, we're going to start putting things together. We're going to be 100 percent as a team and get on a roll."

No. 2 seed Arkansas will meet MAC Regular Season and Tournament champ Miami (Ohio), 12 p.m. at the Disch. The winner will, in all probability, face Texas at 6 p.m., Saturday. But Teagarden said there is little reason for him to hold out another day and risk reinjury against what many consider to be a less formidable opponent.

"I need to get ready because a game like this (Quinnipiac) will help me get ready for the Semifinals and the Finals on Saturday and Sunday," he said. "I need to playing. I haven't had any setbacks this week, so I feel pretty good."

The Horns were the first of four Austin Region teams to practice Thursday, taking the field from 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Temperatures are expected to reach the low-90s in Central Texas this weekend.

The losers of Friday's games will play at 12 p.m. Saturday in an elimination contest. A second elimination game is scheduled for high noon, Sunday, prior to the first championship game at 6 p.m.. A second championship game is on tap for 1 p.m., Monday, if necessary.

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