USM will face tough Texas pitching staff

Published 12:20 am Saturday, June 13, 2009

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Freshman Taylor Jungmann won the game that got Texas to the College World Series.

Senior Austin Wood threw 12 1/3 hitless innings in relief in a 25-inning postseason epic.

Sophomore Brandon Workman threw a no-hitter way back in March.

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Young and old, top-seed Texas arrived in Omaha, Neb., this week with a pitching staff brimming with confidence as the Longhorns seek the school’s seventh national title.

‘‘I know going in we’ll be expecting a lot of ourselves and expecting to do the same that we’ve done all year,’’ said sophomore right-hander Chance Ruffin, who leads the Big 12 champions with 10 wins and came on in relief to get the final two outs of Texas’ 5-2 victory over TCU to win the Super Regional.

Texas (46-14-1) starts play in the College World Series on Sunday night against Southern Mississippi (40-24). The Longhorns are No. 2 nationally with a team ERA of 2.84, behind only Arizona State (2.78) which is also in Omaha.

‘‘They can flat-out pitch,’’ TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said of the Longhorns. ‘‘You can talk about crowd, the experience and all this other stuff about momentum. But momentum begins and ends at the bump in the middle of the field and whoever goes out there.’’

While Ruffin is considered the staff ace, it was Workman (3-3) who threw the gem of the regular season with his no-hitter against Penn State on March 2, striking out 10 in the 21st no-hitter in school history.

Wood eclipsed that with his spectral outing against Boston College in the Austin regional.

Wood came on in the seventh inning of a 2-2 ball game and threw 169 pitches and struck out 14 over 13 total innings. Wood didn’t come out until the 20th inning and Texas finally won 3-2 in the 25th to end the longest game in NCAA history.

A few days later, the baseball Hall of Fame called and asked Wood to donate his hat.

Wood’s 15 saves are tied with current Colorado Rockies reliever Huston Street for the second most in school history. Wood was drafted earlier this week in the fifth round by the Detroit Tigers.

‘‘This has probably been the best month of my life, from the 25-inning game to us winning the Supers and for me to go to Omaha,’’ Wood said. ‘‘It’s been a blast.’’

Texas coach Augie Garrido, the Division I leader in the career victories, called Wood’s game against Boston College ‘‘the best pitching performance I have ever seen … unbelievable.’’ He turned to his top freshman to get the win over TCU and get the Longhorns back to the CWS for the first time since 2005.

Jungmann (pronounced YOUNG-man) is 8-3, and his 2.27 ERA is the best among the Texas starters. A lanky, 6-foot-6 righthander, he allowed just two hits over six innings against the Horned Frogs.