Rice’s Myers, UT’s Cooper ImpressColumns
AUSTIN, Texas — When David Pierce took the head coaching job at Texas, he knew what awaited him on Opening Weekend: A date with the Rice, a heralded program he spent many years with, while also helping lead it to a national title back in 2003.
While he had many fond memories from his time in Houston, there was nothing he wanted more on Friday night than to get his Texas tenure off on a positive note against the Owls and his friend, Wayne Graham.
Despite a strong performance from rising star righthander Morgan Cooper and gritty sophomore Kody Clemens, the Longhorns were unable to take care of the Owls in a 3-2 setback with Rice scoring the winning run in the top of the ninth inning.
The loss was a tough one for Pierce to endure, and you could see it in his face after the game. But, there are 55 regular season games left and there were plenty of positives for the Longhorns, and some signs that things are perhaps destined to be different in short order.
Walking into the ballpark at UFCU Disch-Falk Field about two hours before first pitch, there was a noticeable buzz in the parking lot. People decked out in burnt orange were excited. It was a new era.
In a sport such as college baseball, we’re accustomed to falling in love with our legendary coaches. And for the last 20 seasons, Augie Garrido, who was in Southern California being honored at Cal State Fullerton’s opening series against Stanford on Friday and not at the season opener in Austin, set up shop in the corner of the UT dugout, donning a burnt orange pullover.
There was no Garrido on Opening Day, and throughout pregame, the UT scoreboard displayed a picture of Pierce and alluded to the beginning of the newest chapter in Texas’ rich tradition.
Friday’s game in Austin signified the official changing of the guard. It also gave the 30-plus scouts and others in attendance a close look at two of the rising prospects and players in college baseball – Cooper and Rice two-way talent Dane Myers.
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