Two of college baseball’s blue bloods will face off at Disch-Falk Field in what should be another great matchup between the LSU and Texas.
No.1 LSU (6-1) looks to avenge last season’s 6-1 loss to Texas (3-4) when the two faced off in the Shriners Children’s Classic on March 5, 2022. Last season, LSU was eliminated in the Hattiesburg Regional while Texas went on to play in the College World Series in Omaha. The Longhorns lead the overall series with the Tigers, 28-13-1, and have won four out of the last five meetings, including last year’s matchup.
LSU has not fared well at Disch-Falk Field as the Tigers are 2-7 in the last three times they faced off against Texas in Austin. UT swept LSU in 2019 and won two out of three games in Austin in 1998 and 1994.
There are 56 College World Series appearances between LSU and Texas, with the Tigers having 18 appearances and the Longhorns having 38 appearances. LSU and Texas both have six College World Series titles, which is second only to USC’s 12 College World Series titles, the most in college baseball history.
Ironically, LSU won its sixth College World Series title against Texas in 2009, when the Tigers defeated the Longhorns two games to one in the finals.
What Texas will look like on the mound
Although Texas has had a very disappointing start to the season, its pitching staff is what’s keeping the Longhorns from hitting rock bottom. The Texas pitching staff has an ERA of 3.18, which is good for 27th out of 292 teams.
The Longhorns will most likely start sophomore right-hander LeBarron Johnson. Johnson was last Tuesday’s starter against Corpus Christi. In five innings pitched, Johnson struck eight batters while only allowing three hits and one earned run. Johnson’s fastball can pick up speeds in the mid-90s.
Because of the Longhorns’ depth, they have a lot of really good pitchers that could start on a lot of teams around the country.
The two relievers that Texas uses the most are left-handers David Shaw and Chris Stuart, who both have four appearances.. You should expect to see one of them tonight.
Shaw has made four appearances for the Longhorns and he has recorded a 0.00 ERA, struck out six batters and only has allowed one hit. Shaw transferred from Rice where he posted a 2-2 record, a 6.57 ERA and walked 20 batters in 37 innings pitched last season.
Stuart, who transferred from San Jacinto College (Texas), has a 1-0 record and has logged a 2.08 ERA, three walks and six strikeouts in 4.1 innings pitched. Last season at San Jacinto, Stuart started 17 games for the Gators with three complete games and had a 11-3 overall record for the junior college. Stuart pitched 78.1 innings with 106 strikeouts, which is good for an average of 12.18 strikeouts per nine innings. Stuart also recorded a 3.10 ERA overall and had a 2.09 ERA in conference games.
Hurley was another pitcher that Texas picked up in the transfer portal. Hurley has a 3.00 ERA and has posted nine strikeouts while only walking one batter all year in six innings. Hurley, who was at USC the last two seasons, started in 13 of the 16 games he appeared in last season. Hurley had a 6-2 record and posted a 4.19 ERA, struck out 45 batters and walked 32 batters in 73 innings pitched.
What Texas looks like at the plate
Texas has really struggled to get runs on the board due to their below average hitting. As a team, the Longhorns are tied for 258th in runs scored 161st in batting average in college baseball. It also doesn’t help that the Longhorns lost All-American and Golden SPikes Award winner Ivan Melendez, who led the country in home runs.
However, they do have one of the best hitters in college baseball in Porter Brown. Brown, who transferred to Texas after a stellar career at TCU, leads his team in batting average, home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage. Brown has posted a .320 batting average, three home runs, eight RBIs and a slugging percentage of .680.
Catcher Garrett Guillemette followed Hurley from USC to Texas. Guillemette has posted a .316 batting average with four doubles and two RBIs. Guillemette logged 10 doubles, five home runs, 27 RBI and 28 runs scored last season for USC. Guillemette posted the third best batting average on the Trojans squad with .286.
Texas also returns shortstop Mitchell Daly, center fielder Eric Kennedy and right fielder Dylan Campbell from last year’s lineup as well.
Daly has posted .304 on the year with one RBI while recording a slugging percentage of .348 and an on-base percentage of .385.
Kennedy has a batting average of .296 and has recorded one double, one triple and one home run along with four RBIs. Kennedy also has a slugging percentage of .519.
Campbell, who batted .267 and recorded 10 home runs and 29 RBIs a year before, has had a disappointing start to the season so far. Campbell is batting just over .200 while having no home runs and just two RBIs on the year so far. However, he has been walked eight times, which is the most on the Longhorns. Even with his slow start, he is due to have a big game soon.
LSU Projected Lineup
1B Jared Jones
2B Gavin Dugas
SS Jordan Thompson
3B Ben Nippolt
LF Tre Morgan
CF Dylan Crews
RF Brayden Jobert
C Brady Neal
Texas Projected Lineup
1B Jared Thomas
2B Jack O’Dowd
SS Mitchell Daly
3B Jalin Flores
LF Porter Brown
CF Eric Kennedy
RF Dylan Campbell
C Garrett Guillemette
Projected Pitching Matchup
LSU- RHP Thatcher Hurd (0-0, 18.00 ERA, 2.0 IP, 3 BB, 3 SO)
Texas- RHP Lebarron Johnson (1-1, 4.50 ERA, 4 BB, 8 SO)