Texas baseball has the opportunity to meet one of its most bitter historical rivals when the Longhorns start College World Series play on Sunday.
The Longhorns will meet Arkansas in their first game of the double-elimination tournament at 2 p.m. ET Sunday at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.
Texas is in the same bracket along with No. 1 seed and defending national champion Florida. The other team in the bracket is Big 12 rival Texas Tech. Those two teams meet at 7 p.m. on Sunday.
The Longhorns charge into Omaha for a record 36th time as they seek their seventh College World Series title. Texas will be looking for its first national title since Augie Garrido’s team dogpiled at the mound in 2005.
Texas’ total championships is tied for second on the NCAA list with LSU. The Longhorns and Tigers trail Southern California, which leads with 12 College World Series titles.
The Razorbacks are a familiar foe for the Longhorns after their history in the Southwest Conference. They were members until 1992 when they moved to the SEC.
Texas holds a 54-30 edge in the series. The most recent games came on March 13 and 14 in Fayetteville when the Razorbacks claimed 13-4 and 7-5 triumphs in a midweek series. Those losses might have been a turning point for Texas as the Longhorns dropped to 9-9 at the time.
The two teams have met four times previously in Omaha with the Longhorns claiming a 3-1 edge in the series. The most recent CWS game came in 2004 when Texas pounded out a 13-2 victory.
The Razorbacks (44-19) qualified by blasting South Carolina in a 14-4 triumph Monday evening in the final game of the Fayetteville Super Regional.
Texas will be challenged by Arkansas’ power
Eric Cole and Carson Shaddy blasted homers as the Razorbacks upped their school record to 94 homers for the season. They collected 11 hits and 6 walks against seven beleaguered South Carolina pitchers in the final game.
Power up and down the Arkansas lineup marks coach Dave Van Horn’s team. Cole and Heston Kjerstad have 14 homers apiece to lead the team. Two other players have 13 homers and two more have 8 blasts apiece. The Razorbacks have a team slugging percentage of .487.
Likely pitchers the Longhorns could face could include Blaine Knight (12-0, 2.84 ERA) or Kacey Murphy (8-5, 3.12 ERA).
It will be Arkansas’ ninth appearance in the College World Series. The Hogs’ best finish in Omaha came in 1979 when Norm DeBriyn led them to a second-place finish. That team, led by future big-leaguers Kevin McReynolds and Johnny Ray, lost its final two games in Omaha to Cal State-Fullerton that season.