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Baseball Team Preparing for Title Defense

The national champions are set to take the field. Because we're talking about the University of Texas, that means we need to specify -which- national champions. In this case, it's baseball. (Good God it's a great time to be a Texas fan. I mean, it always has been, but this is silly. We're on top of the world.)

The reigning national champs bring only four positional starters back from last year's team, but the key pitchers return, and that's the important note for the Horns. Texas won last year with exceptional pitching and defense, and that looks like the strength of the team again this year. It's not a terribly complicated formula; just ask the Chicago White Sox, who cruised through the playoffs with outstanding starting pitching and a defensive that gobbled up balls in play and turned them in to outs.

Sophomores Kenn Kasparek and Adrian Alaniz return to anchor the rotation, along with Junior Kyle McCulloch. All three starters had an ERA of less than 3.00 last year (McCulloch was highest with a 2.92). Closer J. Brent Cox left the team for the pros, but expect someone else to step in and be as successful as Cox and Huston Street, before him, were. In fact, redshirt freshman Juston Street (sound familiar?) may step in and try to replicate his big brother's success.

Of course, perhaps Texas' greatest strength is the experience and coaching of Augie Garrido. The Horns may not be a great offensive team, but they weren't really a superb offensive team last year, either. The keys have been pitching and defense, and the Horns have those in spades once again this year, too. Another trip to Omaha looks likely.