Texas' fabulous freshmen
A group of unheralded first-year players have kept the Longhorns on top this season
The 2011 season has introduced a lot of change to college baseball. TD Ameritrade Park replaced Rosenblatt Stadium as the home of the College World Series. The NCAA toned down the bats, drastically reducing offense. Southern Miss and Stetson emerged as strong regional host candidates while mighty LSU sits in last place in the SEC West.
All that change can be disorienting for long-time college baseball fans. So thank goodnessTexas for still being Texas and providing some stability amidst all the newness.
All in all, it's been a typical Texas season. At 38-12, 17-7 in the Big 12 Conference, the Longhorns face rival Texas A&M this weekend with a chance to win the league's regular season title for the seventh time in 10 years. A series win would lock up another top-8 national seed. And, as usual, Texas has built that success on dominant starting pitching, a trusted relief ace, stellar defense and just enough offense.
For a full explanation of just how important freshman have been for Texas, become an ESPN Insider today.
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College Baseball on Insider
Insider has assembled a team to expand college baseball coverage in 2011. ESPN columnists Ryan McGee, Jeff Bradley and draft expert Keith Law are joined by CollegeSplits.com's Jeff Sackmann and longtime expert Will Kimmey in breaking down the top trends and stories each week.