As the Texas baseball team enters its regional play on Friday against....no way that's right...St. Johns? They have a baseball team? Whatever. Anyway, as the team enters another postseason, its as good a time as any to remember the previous two national champions (2002 and 2005) and their magical seasons.
And rather than spend time and effort coming up with well-written odes to these two teams, let's just go to the YouTube, why don't we?
First, we whet your appetite with the CWS-clinching strikeout of a dastardly Florida Gator in 2005 by the superbly named J. Brent Cox. The rest of the clips are after the jump.
Turning to the 2002 national championship season, I must note that college baseball isn't a sport for which there is a great supply of YouTube clips. So we've got to go with mostly highlight videos. Because of that, a lot of the individual plays that made the season get lost in the mix without proper context.
Case-in-point: the first highlight of this video was one of the most dramatic plays I've ever seen. Texas led 2-1 with 2 outs in the 8th inning of its first game of the 2002 CWS against Rice. The Rice batter hits a grounder to third, which the third baseman boots into foul territory, the Rice baserunner coming from second tries to score the tying run, and the rest is history.
Also in this clip is Chris Carmichael's home run in the championship game against South Carolina (back then, it wasn't best of 3). Carmichael started all of 16 games the entire season with exactly one home run, but for some reason that only Augie Garrido and his witch doctor understand, he started the national championship game and went deep. For me, this cemented the Augie legend in Texas.
Also not featured heavily in that video was Huston Street. Now the closer for the Oakland A's, it's hard to overstate how dominant he was in 2002. In college baseball, batters routinely his .350. Hell, in 2002 Dustin Majewski hit .401 for the season! And Huston Street posted a 0.96 ERA in 47 innings with a .148 batting average against. In fact, this was just a phenomenal pitching team all around. Starter Justin Simmons went 16-1 with a 2.52 ERA.
Going back to 2005, Texas seemed to just dominate the CWS despite being only a 5 seed, winning all of its games by a combined 24-8 score including a shutout of #1 overall seed Tulane. Only one game was truly in doubt, a 4-3 win over Baylor that Texas trailed 3-2 in the bottom of the 8th. The Horns tied the score in the 8th and then, in the bottom of the ninth, with a birth in the CWS championship series on the line, Chance Wheeless happened:
Texas went on the sweet the Florida Gators in the best of 3 championship series, with the aforementioned J. Brent Cox strikeout sealing the deal. Here's a full highlight video:
This 2008 team isn't nearly as good as those two teams were, but here's hoping they give us a similar ride regardless. Hook 'em.