Saying goodbye to key Texas Baseball players

Amsal Madhani, Sports Reporter

Texas baseball won 50 games for the first time since 2010, finishing one game shy of its first College World Series finals appearance since 2009. 

Even after a tough elimination loss to the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the College World Series semifinals, head coach David Pierce had some strong words to say about this team. 

“The only thing that I’m disappointed in is this team will no longer be this team anymore,” Pierce said, “It’s the most incredible team I’ve ever been a part of, and I’ve won a National Championship and been here now six times.” 

Although this squad was a sight to see, as Geoffrey Chaucer said: “All good things must come to an end.” It’s become time for some key players of this Texas roster to move on in their careers and go pro, starting with star pitcher Ty Madden. 

The redshirt sophomore right-hander was selected 32nd overall by the Detroit Tigers in the 2021 MLB draft after an incredible season with the Longhorns. He posted career-bests in his batting average, strikeouts and wins.

Madden had some outstanding games under his belt for the Longhorns, including a game where he posted a career-high 14 strikeouts against Houston earlier in the season. With Madden now moving onto his professional career, it looks like redshirt freshman pitcher Pete Hansen could be an intriguing name to take over that Friday starting pitcher role in 2022. 

Not only did Texas lose its best pitcher, the Longhorns are also likely losing some of their best hitters in redshirt senior Mike Antico and redshirt junior Zach Zubia. 

Antico had a rocky start to the season, posting zero runs on just two hits throughout the first four games of the season, but he turned it around as the season went on. He posted college career highs in runs, hits and homers. 

As a consistent leadoff hitter, the transfer was a key part of the Longhorns roster this past season, being a veteran leader for the younger guys on the mound and on defense playing center field.

After the loss to Mississippi State in the College World Series, Antico was just grateful for the opportunity coach Pierce had given him at Texas. 

“Coach Pierce changed my life,” Antico said. “He gave me that opportunity this year and stuck with me through and through and let me play center field for the University of Texas. It was a life-changing experience, and I thank him very much and all the coaches.”

Zubia was another key player for this squad and just as important to the team as Antico. He posted career-bests in hits, runs and slugging percentage in 2021. 

The longtime Longhorn also played exceptionally well at first base this past season, recording key putouts that kept the Longhorns in many games and earning the cheer of “Zuuuuub.”

With these key players looking to move on in their careers, Texas will look to its younger guys to fill in the holes in the team. 

Despite a tough loss in the College World Series and losing many key players, Pierce is still optimistic for next season. He described his optimism in just three words:

“The future’s bright.”