Painful postseason loss fueling Longhorns for 2015 postseason run

Texas opens their 2015 season Feb. 17 against UT San Antonio motivated as ever. 

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber

 

After falling a game short of playing for a national championship last season, Texas is looking to redeem itself and make a return trip to Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series.

In an elimination game against Vanderbilt, junior shortstop C.J. Hinojosa smashed a ball into deep right-center field in the top of the 10th inning. Instead of falling on the turf for an extra-base hit, the ball was snagged by Vanderbilt’s Rhett Wiseman, who slid to catch it for an out.

"Probably the best swing I had all day," Hinojosa said. "And off the bat I did think it was over his head. He's a good outfielder, he tracked it well and made a great play on it."

In the bottom frame, Louisville had the bases loaded and was able to squeak out an infield single to walk-off.

Although the loss stung, the Longhorns plan to use the painful exit from the College World Series as motivation for the 2015 season.

“I’m not over [the World Series loss] yet,” head coach Augie Garrido said during fall practice. “I don’t want to get over it. I want to be motivated by it. I’m excited to get us started.”

During fall practice, senior pitcher Parker French said that while the loss hurt, he thinks the team will be able to rebound with ease.

“I don’t think there’s much of a hangover effect,” French said. “I think it’s more guys are just hungry. We all have a common goal, we know what that is. We got a little bit of taste of success last year, but we’re not done, and we want more, and I think that’s the biggest thing.”

French and junior right-hand pitcher Chad Hollingsworth will lead a pitching staff that will anchor Texas’s team.

The Longhorns have a multitude of players returning this year. Headlining that group is Hinojosa, sophomore catcher Tres Barrera, sophomore infielder Zane Gurwitz, junior outfielder Ben Johnson, junior infielder Brooks Marlow and senior right fielder Collin Shaw.

But the path back to Omaha won’t be easy. Alongside Texas, the Big 12 has three other schools in D1baseball.com’s top 25 – TCU, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. The Longhorns also play two top-25 teams in nonconference play – Nebraska and Rice.

While the road to a national championship is full of challenges, Texas’ experience last year will be its motivation.

“Like anything — whether it’s a failure or a success — you can use that for the future,” French said. “You can learn from anything … so, we’ll use those experiences moving forward.”