Going into this weekend, it was clear that Texas' margin for error was essentially nil. The Longhorns had to beat the Aggies in Game One and then win their winners' bracket game in order to have a realistic chance of advancing, because with Dillon Peters injured it was unlikely they could come through the losers' bracket and beat another solid team twice in two days.
Texas has done what it needed to do, possibly at the expense of burning John Curtiss for the weekend, by comfortably defeating A&M Friday and winning a late-night 11-inning thriller over the host Owls last night. Now the Longhorns are in the enviable position of needing only one win to advance to the super regional round, while the winner of A&M-Rice will need to beat Texas twice to do so.
As of the time of this writing, Rice leads A&M 2-0 in the 6th after the Ags left the bases loaded in the first. Due to Peters' injury, the pitching situation tonight will be roughly "even," i.e.--Texas' fourth starter Lukas Schiraldi will face the opponent's fourth starter. I do think Schiraldi has a much greater upside than either potential opponent's #4 guy, but if he's not on then Texas will need to score some runs. For what it's worth, Schiraldi has already beaten the Owls at Reckling Park once this season.
At least in baseball, both Rice and A&M can be called "rivals." So while Texas is in the driver's seat, the specter of being eliminated from the Tournament by losing two in a row to a rival will hopefully be enough to keep Augie's boys sufficiently focused to take care of business.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 PM central, but will obviously depend on the time the Owls-Aggies elimination game ends. The game will be broadcast on the internet via WatchESPN.com, and
on some lucky televisions on the Longhorn Network Apparently now on ESPN2. This is your open thread. Hook 'em!