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Texas baseball picked to finish second in the Big 12

The Longhorns received two first-place votes from the league’s coaches.

Syndication: Austin American-Statesman Aaron E. Martinez / American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

Entering the program’s final season in the Big 12, the Texas Longhorns were picked to finish second in the conference in the preseason baseball poll released on Thursday, receiving two first-place votes.

The league’s coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own team, selected TCU to finish first for the second consecutive season with 11 votes. The Horned Frogs won the Big 12 Tournament championship and advanced all the way to the College World Series semifinals in 2023 after the Longhorns, Cowboys, and Mountaineers shared the regular-season title.

Last season, head coach David Pierce’s team went 42-22 in a reloading season, making it to the Palo Alto Super Regionals before a brutal loss to Stanford in the third game when a pop fly was last in the lights of Sunken Diamond. Veterans like Porter Brown, Jack O’Dowd, and Peyton Powell return with rising stars Jalin Flores and Jared Thomas to supplement a pitching staff that gets Lebarron Johnson Jr. and Tanner Witt back. In the 2023 recruiting class, the Longhorns added toolsy right fielder Will Gasparino while the transfer portal yielded power-hitting first baseman Luke Storm.

Brown and Johnson were both named to the Preseason All-Big 12 team earlier in the week with Johnson earning Preseason Pitcher of the Year honors and Gasparino named the Preseason Freshman of the Year.

Texas opens the season at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Feb. 16 against San Diego.