When the Texas Longhorns are one of the eight national teams to advance to the College World Series - college baseball's version of the NCAA Final Four - they pack their bags for an extended stay, and they have been wise to do so.
In seven College World Series appearances since the turn of the millennium in 2000, coach Augie Garrido's troops have caught a nice tail wind after arriving in Omaha, winning two national championships (2002, 2005) finishing as the runner-up twice (2009, 2004) and tying for third once. Only once before in big 12 history, in 2000, had the Longhorns been among the first teams sent home with back-to-back World Series losses. That is until this year.
Texas, the No. 7 seed in the 2011 NCAA National Championship, fell on opening day to second-seeded Florida and then was shutout 3-0 by the No. 3 seed, North Carolina, in an elimination game on Monday. Prior to that, the Big 12 regular-season champions, who ended the year with a record of 49-19, had been 8-1 in elimination games this postseason, beginning with the Big 12 Championship.
Even with two of the nation's best starting pitchers. Right-handers Taylor Jungmann and Cole Green, Texas couldn't get it done against the Gators and Tar Heels out of the Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference, respectively. The back-to-back losses were only the second time Texas has been exited early in a College World Series in its last 24 appearances, and only the fourth time in the Longhorns' record 34 World Series trips to Omaha.
It didn't help matters for the Big 12 Conference that the conference's other CWS qualifier this year, Texas A&M, was the second of the eight final teams to bid an early farewell. The Aggies (46-22) lost a one-run game to defending-champion South Carolina on Sunday and fell 7-3 to California in an elimination game Tuesday afternoon.
This marks the first time in the 15-year history of the Big 12 that, when two or more teams from the conference have advanced to the College World Series, a Big 12 team has failed to win at least one World Series game.
So as teams from the SEC, ACC and Pac-10 continue to play on in Omaha on the road to the national championship, the baseball season in the Big 12 is now one for the books. All in all, it was a good, but not great, season for Big 12 schools, with two teams advancing to the College World Series, three teams (Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma) finishing in the top 25 in the major college polls and eight of the ten conference teams that participate in baseball sporting winning overall season records.
In the immortal words of the great Brooklyn Dodgers teams of the 1950s, "Wait till next year..."