Baseball

‘We’re really good at home’: Disch-Falk hosts the season’s biggest home games at NCAA regional

Posted May 31st, 2018

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Kody Clemens asked for it.

So did Blair Henley.

And like UT’s standout second baseman and all-conference pitcher, Texas Exes Greg Swindell, Nathan Thornhill and Tres Barrera also took to Twitter this week to implore fans to #PackTheDisch.

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Ask and you shall receive. Less than 33 hours after the NCAA revealed the teams playing in this week’s Austin regional — Indiana, Texas A&M and Texas Southern will join the host Longhorns — Texas on Wednesday announced the regional had sold out.

“Obviously, to be able to play at your home field is a huge advantage,” Clemens said. “Having our home crowd pack the Disch, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

UFCU Disch-Falk Field has a capacity of 7,373. The Longhorns averaged 4,956 fans at home games this spring; they ranked seventh nationally despite a nondescript slate of games that saw only two ranked opponents (Stanford and Sam Houston State). Seven marquee matchups against Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Texas Tech were played away from home.

Texas infielder David Hamilton (1) celebrates his walk-off grand slam against Texas State in Austin on May 1, 2018. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

That isn’t to say that Texas fans haven’t gotten their money’s worth this spring:

Texas is 27-7 at home. Three of those losses were against Stanford in mid-March.

“We’re really good at home,” UT coach David Pierce said. “We’ve been good at home all year, we’ve been good at home for two years. So there is some comfort for us there as well.”

If Texas and Texas A&M do meet this weekend, a sold-out crowd probably won’t faze the Aggies. The stadiums with the top six attendance averages this year belong to SEC schools. Texas A&M, which ranks sixth in attendance, has played at third-place Arkansas and fifth-place Mississippi State.

Texas infielder Ryan Reynolds (5) celebrates the final out of a game against Louisiana-Lafayette at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Feb. 16, 2018. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Meanwhile, Indiana — which faces A&M in the regional’s first game on Friday — has played only four road games this season that had more than 3,000 fans. And Texas Southern has faced a crowd bigger than 1,850 just once though the Tigers have played in regionals at LSU and Texas A&M in the past three years.

“Playing on big stages, we’re not used to it because our home field seats 200 people,” Texas Southern outfielder Kamren Dukes said. “But to say we haven’t been there is wrong. A lot of us are battle-tested in that situation, playing in front of thousands of people.

“It’s going to be a great atmosphere,” said Indiana outfielder Logan Sowers. “A lot of the fans aren’t here to cheer us on, they’re here to root against us. I think we’re looking forward to that.”

In its last appearance at Disch-Falk, Texas recorded a 7-3 win over TCU. A season-high 7,294 fans were on hand for that victory and the crowning of the Longhorns as the Big 12’s regular-season champs.

That, though, wasn’t the biggest crowd that UT played in front of this year. The three-game series at LSU in the second of the season averaged 11,301 fans. The Longhorns traveled to Arkansas over spring break and both of its games topped 8,000 fans. An announced crowd of 7,537 was at College Station’s Blue Bell Park on April 10 for the Longhorns’ 6-5 loss to the rival Aggies.

Texas went 1-5 in those six games. But the Longhorns will play the role of the good guys this weekend. Still, players said those highly-attended road games were good preparation for the postseason.

“LSU was the second weekend of the season. We talked about this is a regional atmosphere,” UT junior Andy McGuire said. “This is what it’s going to be like come to the end of the season. Having some sort of feel for big crowds, what momentum can do in those situations. I’m glad we’re at home, obviously, because this place is going to be packed and we’ll feed off that.”

NCAA Austin Regional

Friday-Monday, UFCU Disch-Falk Field

Friday: (Game 1) Texas A&M vs. Indiana, 4 p.m. (ESPN2); (2) Texas vs. Texas Southern, 8 (LHN, 104.9)

Saturday: (3) Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 1:30 p.m.; (4) Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 6

Sunday: (5) Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser, 2 p.m.; (6) Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 8

Monday: Game 6 winner vs. Game 6 loser (if needed), 6 p.m.

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