Just how great was Chad Hollingsworth last night compared to the annals of great Texas pitchers to walk the 40 Acres? Where does his line of 9 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 2 SO and 128 pitches stack up?
As it turns out, Hollingsworth's performance last night was pretty legendary. I went back and looked at Texas teams in the NCAA tournament dating back to 2002. I didn't go further because my Texas fandom coincides with enrolling in the school in 2002 and the internet makes finding box scores before 2002 virtually impossible. During that time, the Texas Longhorns have played 86 NCAA tournament games, made six College World Series appearances and won two titles.
Those teams have featured some pretty great starting pitching. Chance Ruffin, James Russell, Brad Halsey, JP Howell, Sam LeCure and Brandon Workman have all started games at Texas and gone on to pitch in the Majors. There are also guys like Justin Simmons, Adrian Alaniz and Taylor Jungmann who were great in college but either never made the pros (Alaniz and Simmons) or are still working their way through the minors (Jungmann is at AAA and will be in the Majors sometime soon).
From all of those great pitchers in all those tournament games there have only been three complete games thrown by Texas pitchers between 2002 and last night. Two of them came in the opening game of a regional against an over-matched 4-seed. If we take away the games against 4-seeds we get ONE complete game from a Texas pitcher in the last 77 NCAA tournament games featuring a real opponent.
That game, of course, was Taylor Jungmann's complete game against LSU in the 2009 championship series. Jungmann gave up a single unearned run and struck out nine to even that series at a game apiece. Jungmann, a freshman, was in control the entire game. That game was an elimination game and the setting was the championship series, adding to the degree of difficulty facing Jungmann. There shouldn't be any disagreement that Jungmann's outing that night was the most clutch pitching performance in recent Texas baseball history.
But Hollingsworth's performance isn't that far behind. Hollingsworth came out and flat out dominated the Aggies in an elimination game while playing away from home at Rice. Hollingsworth had to deal with a struggling defense behind him and the fact that he hadn't started a game all season. Hollingsworth only gave up a pair of infield singles, one of which could've been an error on Gurwitz, in the entire freaking game. Finally, Hollingsworth's game is all the more sweet against the backdrop of Texas having missed the postseason in each of the last two seasons.
It was a pretty epic performance when Texas needed it most.
Here are the pitching lines of the four complete games from Texas starters in the NCAA tournament since 2002:
Justin Simmons, Game One, 2003 Regional Series against Bucknell:
9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 127 pitches.
Taylor Jungmann, Game Two, 2009 Championship Series against LSU:
9 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO, 126 pitches.
Brandon Workman, Game One, 2010 Regional Series against Rider:
9 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 SO, (can't find how many pitches).
9 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 2 SO, 128 pitches.