Texas’ Shugart Saves The SeasonColumns
AUSTIN, Texas — Taming Tennessee Tech’s offense to keep your season alive is a daunting task for anyone, much less a pitcher trying to keep his team’s College World Series hopes intact.
It’s a good thing Texas has righthander Chase Shugart.
As Shugart walked off the field and into the postgame press conference following his team’s 4-2 win over Tennessee Tech to keep their season alive, his eyes seemed barely open and he was clearly exhausted. In addition to the sauna-like temperatures Sunday afternoon, the Longhorns needed Shugart to empty out the tank one last time at home.
So, on this stage, and in this situation, he did what his team and head coach asked of him. He emptied out that tank and helped hold the Golden Eagles to their lowest hit output of the season — three, and the lowest total since the middle of the 2015 campaign.
It was a Herculean performance that his team will remember for a while, and Texas fans might remember for a few years if they can win tomorrow to advance to advance to the CWS for the first time since 2014.
“Going into today, Coach Pierce said in the team meeting that we all needed to empty the tank. He said if we have to go to Blair [Henley] in the fifth inning, we will. So I just went out there and let it all hang out,” Shugart said after the game. “Going into those battles with their hitters, they did a good job of battling 0-2 pitches and going deep into counts. It was driving me nuts … they’re a pretty good hitting team.
“Having the early lead and having that kind of offense is real nice,” he continued. “I can pitch my game at that point when I get a lead like that. I don’t have to press.”
As nuts as the Golden Eagles drove Shugart throughout the afternoon, TTU’s offense had to be even more frustrated with their inability to sustain anything against the hard-nosed righty.