Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Fall World Series: Potential breakout stars to watch for

Skyler Sharp
Freshman outfielder Will Gasparino swings and hits the ball at game three of the Fall World Series on Nov. 5, 2023. Earlier in the game Gasparino hit a home run for the orange team.

Texas baseball played its Fall World Series this weekend. The three-game series gave spectators their first look at the new faces that arrived on the Forty Acres in the offseason. 

Multiple prominent players, such as Dylan Campbell and Lucas Gordon, were both drafted into the MLB, leaving some key positions to be filled. 

A focal point this year seems to be the bullpen. Last season the Longhorn bullpen struggled when it came to high-leverage situations and it cost them some games throughout the season. The Longhorns got five pitchers from the transfer portal, including redshirt senior and former Notre Dame pitcher Will Mercer and redshirt sophomore and former LSU pitcher Grant Fontenot. 

Mercer played a huge role in the bullpen last season for the Fighting Irish. He finished with a 4.18 ERA in 23.2 innings pitched. Although he did not make an appearance during the Fall World Series for Texas, Mercer will have an opportunity to make a difference in the spring whether he is starting games or coming out of the bullpen. 

Fontenot was a part of last year’s LSU national championship team, but he did not make an appearance in the entire season. Coming out of high school, Fontenot was the No. 1 ranked pitcher in the state of Louisiana with his fastball that can reach speeds in the mid-90s. Fontenot did make a couple of appearances during the middle innings of the series this weekend and he is shaping up to be a great pickup for the bullpen this season. 

Although many of the incoming transfers were pitchers, a couple of position players also decided to come to Austin. Junior outfielder Casey Cummings and redshirt senior outfielder Seth Werchan both decided to play for the Longhorns this season.

Cummings, a transfer from Chabot College, proved in the series that his bat could make an impact in the lineup. In game three of the series, Cummings drove in all five runs for his team, which included an opposite-field grand slam. Last season he played 43 games and hit .387 with 17 home runs on the season. 

Werchan, a local Austin product, is coming to the Forty Acres after four seasons at the University of Pennsylvania. The former Ivy Leaguer comes in after posting the best-hitting season of his career, hitting .250 in 48 games played. He will provide some depth in the outfield after the departures of Eric Kennedy and Dylan Campbell. 

Transfers weren’t the only acquisitions for the Longhorns this offseason, as they were able to retain almost all of their recruits with the only exception being pitcher Travis Sykora, who was drafted out of high school by the Washington Nationals. 

Freshman outfielders Will Gasparino and Tommy Farmer both showcased their skills during all three games. Farmer made multiple spectacular catches and showcased his speed multiple times when he got on base. Gasparino also made some great contact, including a home run in the series. He also showed off his arm in right field a couple of times.

Freshman catcher Nik Sanders also looks to make a sudden impact on the team with his bat. As the designated hitter during the series, he hit a home run and a double off the wall. 

These new additions will have an opportunity to make a difference again on Feb. 16, when Texas starts its season at home against the University of San Diego.

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