Longhorns bring ‘keep goin’’ mentality to Omaha after comeback in Greenville Super Regional

Texas+shortstop+Trey+Faltine+narrowly+escapes+a+tag+as+he+tries+to+reach+third+base+against+Texas+A%26M.+The+Longhorns+fell+to+the+Aggies+12-9+on+March+29.+

Andrew Zamora/The Daily Texan

Texas shortstop Trey Faltine narrowly escapes a tag as he tries to reach third base against Texas A&M. The Longhorns fell to the Aggies 12-9 on March 29.

Hunter Dworaczyk, Sports Reporter

When the Texas baseball team boarded the bus to begin its journey to Omaha, the players donned T-shirts that read “keep goin’” on them.

Redshirt sophomore shortstop Trey Faltine said the phrase began when he and Ivan Melendez, redshirt junior first baseman, were messing around and rapping DJ Khaled’s  “Every Chance I Get” in offseason practice. What started as a joke was soon embraced as the team’s motto for the season. 

The Longhorns’ philosophy of continuing to battle paid off in the Greenville Super Regional. Texas found itself down 7-2 in Game 2 against East Carolina and faced elimination but managed to claw back and ultimately win the series.

“Any time we’re down, someone’s battling in an at bat, we just say keep going,” Faltine said Thursday in the players’ first media availability since arriving in Omaha. “We’re fighting until the very end. We’re never going to stop until we know we’re out. I think that resembles everything we’ve done this year — we just kept going and kept fighting until the end.”

After advancing through the Austin Regional and Greenville Super Regional, the Longhorns punched their ticket to the College World Series for the 38th time in program history, a number that leads the country by a wide margin. 

“Part of the reason we come to Texas is because of the history and the legacy,” redshirt sophomore catcher Silas Ardoin said. “The name on the front of the jersey means more to us than anything. Each time we step onto the field, we know what we’re representing.”

Texas will open its College World Series with a matchup Friday night against Notre Dame, fresh off an upset of top-ranked Tennessee in the Knoxville Super Regional. The Fighting Irish are a veteran group, fielding a lineup that includes four seniors and four graduate students.

Friday night’s game also poses a unique battle between offense and defense. While Texas leads all eight CWS-bound teams in hitting categories such as batting average, slugging percentage and home runs, Notre Dame has the statistical edge in pitching. The Fighting Irish pitching staff holds a 3.95 earned run average and a .228 batting average against, both of which top the rest of the field.

“There’s a lot of big arms right now (in college baseball),” said David Pierce, who has now led Texas to three CWS appearances in his six seasons as head coach. “A lot of guys throwing 95 (mph), but they haven’t executed pitching. Coach Link (Jarrett) and his staff have done a great job of executing pitching.”

The College World Series is played in Charles Schwab Field Omaha, a stadium that is historically known as a pitcher-friendly ballpark because of its deeper-than-normal outfield fence. 

“(Charles Schwab Field) can play big,” Pierce said. “You got to understand that in your approach.”

While the Longhorns will have a rematch against either Texas A&M or Oklahoma in Sunday’s second round, they are not looking ahead. Pierce said they are entirely focused on making the most of their next pitch.

“They came up with this saying ‘keep going,’ and that’s all we’ve done,” Pierce said. “Our kids are so focused on (the next pitch) and trying to win games. That’s the beauty of this team; they know it takes all 27 of them to make this happen.”