Texas and Vanderbilt Face Off in Elimination Game (For Texas)

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

After beating Louisville and UC Irvine in back to back games Texas must beat Vanderbilt twice to advance to the national championship series.

The 2014 Texas Longhorns are one of college baseball's final four teams. Wait, what? A team that got swept at home by TCU, lost to Kansas and West Virginia, and split with Cal is only four wins away from a national title. This is a team without a draft pick in the top five rounds and one healthy top ten pick playing.

Yet somehow, however improbable, the 2014 Longhorns have managed to equal the entirety of Texas A&M baseball in terms of wins in the College World Series. A team with no power has hit the one and (as of this writing before TCU-Ole Miss) only home run in the entire CWS. A team without arguably its most talented starter has managed to get 17.1 post-season innings with zero earned runs from a sophomore with no weekend starting experience.

Returning to the postseason was the minimal acceptable standard, embarrassing the Aggies, beating Rice and beating the Aggies again was lagniappe. Texas hosting and solidly defeating Houston in the Super Regional felt like playing with house money. What's beating Louisville and UCI with the chance to play Vandy twice for a trip to the championship series? Is there such a thing as superlagniappe?

The Commodores are in the driver's seat though having beaten UCI and Louisville about as solidly as anybody is beating anyone else these days in Omaha. Vandy plans to throw sophomore Tyler Ferguson against Nathan Thornhill on Friday. Ferguson is 8-3 on the year having thrown only 75.1 innings in 14 starts. Ferguson has only started two games in the last month and Vandy lost both games. The Horns will counter with Thornhill on nearly full rest.

First pitch is at 2 PM on ESPNU. This is your open thread. Hook 'em!

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