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

Texas baseball veterans return with hopes of College World Series victory

Skyler Sharp
Redshirt Senior Peyton Powell runs home in game three of The Fall World Series on Nov. 5, 2023.

As dreams of a College World Series celebration slipped through the fingers of the 2023 Texas baseball team that built its way up from a 3—6 start, fans and head coach David Pierce speculated a wave of athletes would enter the MLB draft to find success elsewhere. 

But redshirt senior and third baseman Peyton Powell said he’s returned with one goal in mind: to finish what the Longhorns started in Palo Alto last season. 

“I want to win a natty,” Powell said. “That’s the only reason. Last year, it was just so devastating.”

After going neck-and-neck against Stanford in the Super Regional last June, entering the third game of the series tied at 1-1, a dropped ball and an alert baserunner paved the way for a Cardinal victory. 

Fellow redshirt senior Porter Brown shares his teammate’s desire to achieve a national title, reliving the sour memory that he was left with after Stanford.

“Losing on that terrible note with Stanford, that’s not how I wanted my college baseball career to end,” Brown said. 

Powell, who will come back for his fifth season with the Longhorns, knows what it takes to make it to Omaha, Nebraska, the home of the College World Series, as he helped lead the team to the championship series in 2021 and 2022. This year, Texas is predicted to finish second in the Big 12, according to votes placed by coaches within the conference, which comes with the expectation that it will contend for another championship appearance.

Brown also made the decision to return for his second season with the Longhorns and sixth season overall after transferring from TCU. The star hitter has already been named to the All-Big 12 Preseason Team, but when it comes to preseason honors, he believes they aren’t a defining factor of the program and rather sees them as another source of motivation to improve.  

“All the preseason rankings are cool, and (they) keep people locked into the season, but you just got to take those with a grain of salt,” Brown said. “Just hold your head down and work hard every day … and then at the end, the result will come.”      

Among those who will be making their way back to the Forty Acres will be redshirt junior Tanner Witt, senior Charlie Hurley, redshirt junior Lebarron Johnson Jr. and junior pitcher David Shaw, who underwent arm surgery in the postseason and has since recovered. 

Pierce expressed his appreciation for the veterans choosing to play for him again, noting that their leadership will be crucial with nearly 60% of the roster being underclassmen.    

“We got five guys back from the draft that we could’ve easily lost,” Pierce said. “It’s exciting to know that you have potential that has been here and that has experience.”  

Despite the loss of major names like Dylan Campbell, Lucas Gordon and Zane Morehouse to the draft, Powell and Brown are confident that their squad will rise to the occasion once more. Powell praised the program’s coaching staff for setting them up with a solid foundation to be successful, but mentioned the importance of team chemistry above all else. 

“It has to come from everyone on the team. Everyone has to gel together, know their role, accept it and embrace the season,” Powell said. “We have all the personnel that we need to go and do what we want to do.”

Texas will headline UFCU Disch-Falk Field beginning Feb. 3, hosting its annual Alumni Game followed by its season opener against San Diego on Feb. 16.

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About the Contributor
Emma Hutchinson, Senior Sports Reporter
Emma is a journalism sophomore from Prosper, Texas and is probably watching Dallas Mavericks highlights as you read this. She currently works on the women’s basketball beat as a senior reporter, but has previously reported on men’s swim and dive and softball. In addition to watching the Mavericks, she enjoys spending her free time with the people she loves most, usually by grabbing some coffee or boba with them.