Stat Guy: Longhorns again at risk of missing College World Series

Drew Lieberman

In the summer of 1975, then head coach Cliff Gustafson led Texas baseball to the first of two national titles it would win under his watch. For the Longhorns program, this marked their seventh College World Series appearance in Gustafson’s first eight seasons at the helm.

But over the next three seasons, the program missed the NCAA Tournament twice, including a humbling 1978 season when the it had a 12-12 record in conference play. Texas bounced back in 1979, reaching the College World Series semifinals and would not miss the tournament field for the rest of Gustafson’s tenure. 

Similarly, in 2011, the Longhorns reached Omaha for the seventh time under head coach Augie Garrido, but they were eliminated after losing both of their games. Up to that point, Texas had been as good as any program in the nation since Garrido took over in 1997, with two National titles in the previous decade. 

The Longhorns missed the NCAA Tournament in both 2012 and 2013, dropping every series in Big 12 play in 2013. Similarly to 1979, in 2014, they bounced back from a couple seasons of frustration to reach the College World Series semi-finals. 

Texas, ranking in the top 10 in preseason polls, entered the 2015 season with high expectations as a squad capable of producing another celebration in Omaha. Instead, barring a miraculous turnaround, this team could be remembered as one of the biggest disappointments in program history. 

The Longhorns are currently in grave danger of missing the NCAA Tournament field for the third time in the past four seasons. This would make the members of the current senior class the first since the NCAA Tournament began to make fewer than two appearances during their four-year careers. 

Texas sits at 82nd in the country in RPI and are 0–9 against the RPI top 25, including sweeps at the hands of TCU this past weekend. The Longhorns pounded out 30 hits during the series and are batting .316 in their past eight games, raising their season batting average from .242 to .253. Texas also slugged at a .515 clip raising its total on the season from .361 to .391.  

During that same span the team produced at least four runs in five games, after doing so only three times in its previous 12 games. However the production of the Texas bats has not guaranteed a win, as the Longhorns are just 4–4 in the past seven games because of struggles on the mound and on defense. 

Texas’ opponents have also scored 45 runs over this time, an average of over 5.5 allowed runs per game. Of those runs, 31 of them have been earned, pushing the team’s total ERA above 3.00 for the first time since the February series against Minnesota. 

With just two conference series left in the regular season, it appears the Longhorns will be unable to build on the momentum of last season’s postseason run. Unless they win the Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City, which would give them an automatic bid, the Longhorns are almost certainly going to miss the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four seasons.