AUSTIN, Texas -- A week ago, after Texas clinched its spot in the NCAA super regionals, Longhorns coach David Pierce said he had "no doubt" that the late Augie Garrido was with his team as it pushed forward.
On Monday, when the Longhorns needed a win to clinch their 36th berth in the College World Series, he turned to the spirit of the longtime Texas coach for a little assistance.
"No doubt [he was with us today]," Pierce said. "I was rubbing his jersey in the seventh inning, and that's no doubt, either."
Following a 5-2 win over Tennessee Tech, Texas is headed back to Omaha for the first time since 2014, and the Longhorns do so with heavy hearts, just months after Garrido died at 79.
Amidst the postgame celebration, the Longhorns noted Garrido several times. Garrido, who was the winningest coach in college baseball history when he died in March (a record now held by Florida State's Mike Martin), coached at Texas from 1997 to 2016. He finished with 1,975 victories in a career that spanned five decades and included 15 College World Series appearances and five titles, including two championships at Texas.
After the victory, players ran out to center field, where Garrido's initials and jersey number (AG 16) are etched into a Longhorn logo.
"Super special [moment]," pitcher Parker Joe Robinson said. "We all went out there after we won the game. A couple of the older kids on the team, you could really tell they were soaking it in."
Texas junior infielder Kody Clemens, who led the Longhorns with three home runs in the super regionals and was recruited by Garrido, spoke of the coach's impact on the game and his family.
"I wouldn't be at the University of Texas if it wasn't for him," said Clemens, son of former major league pitcher Roger Clemens. "He was an unbelievable man. He knew so much about the game. He didn't teach the game. He taught those little lessons about life. He taught everybody on our team how to be a man."
The Longhorn crowd at Disch-Falk Field briefly broke into an "Augie! Augie!" chant following the victory.
Robinson said the team is proud to be able to get back to Omaha in Garrido's honor.
"It was kinda this crazy thing," Robinson said. "We're celebrating his life just a couple months ago, and to have us perform, it seems like almost right after he passed away, that our team flipped a switch. I don't know, maybe Augie was with us. We all just played together for one big thing, bigger than baseball in general."