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College World Series 2011: Baseball America Grades The Texas Longhorns

Nobody really covers collegiate baseball like Baseball America does, and not surprisingly, Baseball America has an excellent team by team breakdown for all the teams participating in the 2011 College World Series - including, of course, the Texas Longhorns.

Here's a bit of what Aaron Fitt over at Baseball America had to say about the Longhorns: 

(Disclaimer: all grades are based on the 20-80 scouting scale, with 80 being most excellent)

Starting Pitching

Preseason: 70

Revised: 70

Jungmann carried an undefeated record and a sub-1.00 ERA into the NCAA tournament, but he has lost his last two starts, and the Longhorns need him to return to his dominating form in Omaha. Not only is he one of the nation's most talented pitchers, but he's a proven big-game pitcher who shut down LSU in the 2009 CWS Finals as a freshman.     

It's not surprising that the Longhorns would receive a 70 grade on their starting pitching. They have a legitimate ace in Jungmann and thanks to the abuse college arms take, sometimes you only need one arm to ride for the entire tournament. As Fitt points out, though, Jungmann really needs to return to his dominating self if the Longhorns are going to make noise.

While we already know the pitching is great for the Longhorns, the hitting remains suspect. 

Preseason: 50
Revised: 45

Texas ranks 207th in the nation in batting (.272) and 185th in scoring (5.2 runs per game), but its offense is plenty competent. Texas simply relies on small ball, leading the nation with 109 sacrifice bunts, and situational hitting. Freshman sensation Erich Weiss (.358) and Loy (.344 with 23 doubles) have hit considerably better than expected; that duo and Shepherd (.305) anchors the lineup.

Preseason: 35
Revised: 30

Shepherd (five homers) and Weiss (four) are the only Longhorns with more than two homers on the season. Certainly, UT's cavernous home field suppresses the long ball, but even so this is not a physical lineup.    

Those grades are nothing at all to write home about. By contrast, the Gators have a 65 hitting grade and 70 power grade from Fitt and Baseball America. 

Jungmann is really going to have to limit Florida's chances tonight if the Longhorns are going to win. He'll have to limit the amount of baserunners the Gators have, and if their power does come out, limit Florida to solo blasts. Texas' offense can't hang with the power bats that Florida has to offer.

We'll see how Jungmann and Texas do tonight as they play in the opening round of the College World Series, with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. CDT. Televised coverage can be found on ESPN.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.