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Greetings from Omaha. The Longhorns stayed alive, and I’m still here. Let’s talk about that and much more in a different style of Wednesday column:

— I was struggling with the idea of how to potentially describe the 2021 Texas Baseball team if it went 0-2, again, in Omaha. It would have been a truly disappointing end to a remarkable and excellent regular season. And it would have been an unfair end because I truly believed the 2021 Longhorns were capable of winning games at the College World Series and much different than the 2018 bunch that was completely outclassed.

Fortunately, I won’t have to. Yesterday was a huge moment for David Pierce and the future of the program. The Longhorns showed they truly belonged in Omaha and could go toe-to-toe with the game’s best, most talented teams. Make no mistake, eliminating Tennessee, and especially the way the game played out, showed the program has undoubtedly made major progress since 2018 and is poised to make return trips with an ability to compete for a title in the future.

— Good for Pierce. Imagine the conversation right now if Texas lost yesterday. Fair or not, much of it would have focused on Pierce’s 0-4 record in Omaha as the head coach of the Longhorns and not the two Omaha trips and Big 12 titles in the four full seasons he’s been at Texas. Think about that again for a moment. That’s an impressive stretch for a coach coming from Tulane and following the legendary Augie Garrido at a time when the program was down.

— Speaking of the program being down, I think we can officially bury whatever the hell the second half of the 2019 season was. I think one of the true marks of good coaching is being able to quickly identify program issues and immediately correct them and change the trajectory of the program. Since the end of the 2019 season, the Longhorns are 62-19.

— Watching Tanner Witt as a starting pitcher the next two years is going to be a treat. Early this season, Witt primarily pitched with his fastball and curveball, which was more than enough coming out of the bullpen considering his heater has some explosive life in the low to mid-90’s and his curve is routinely a plus pitch with excellent spin. Now, Witt has full confidence in throwing a changeup to lefties, which looks like a future above-average offering and he was even sinking his fastball some against lefties yesterday; whether that was intentional or unintentional I’m not sure.

He’s averaging 11.8 K/9, batters are hitting just .195 against him and he lowered his ERA to 2.75 yesterday, which was an excellent example of how smooth his transition should be to a starting pitcher because he has the athleticism to repeat his delivery and full arsenal of pitches to work through lineups multiple times. If he takes the path I believe he will, it’s possible and maybe even likely he’ll be discussed as a top five overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft.

— Looking ahead to the matchup against Virginia on Thursday (6:00 p.m. on ESPN2), I have a tough time imagining Virginia being able to recover from losing to Mississippi State the way it did last night. Virginia carried a no-hitter and 4-0 lead into the eighth inning and ended up losing 6-5. That’s demoralizing.

I would expect either right-handed reliever/rare starter Matt Wyatt or lefty Nate Savino to start against Texas. Wyatt tossed 3.0 shutout innings to close Sunday’s win against Tennessee and Savino threw an inning last night in relief. Wyatt has better stuff, and had success in the postseason in long, good outings with 5.2 innings against both DBU and South Carolina. But it’s asking a lot of him to throw deep into a game.

The Virginia lineup is very competitive and puts the ball in play at a high rate, but it’s not very threatening beyond the first four hitters.

— As for Texas, I’d be surprised if Pete Hansen doesn’t start, especially with Cole Quintanilla and Aaron Nixon fully rested behind him…