Record: 13-9, 5-1 Big 12
Rank: No. 18 - Baseball America
Last week: Def. Stephen F. Austin 9-1, Lost to Kansas State 5-2, Def. KSU 6-4 (11), Def. KSU 8-5
This week: vs. UT-Pan Am (3/28), vs. Cal (3/30-4/1; Round Rock)
Texas head coach Augie Garrido says the hitters feeling less pressure at the plate has created the increased production.
Things are looking a lot brighter for the Longhorns since it returned from the Houston College Classic on March 6.
Since that three-game set in Minute Maid Park, the Longhorns are 9-2 with Big 12 series wins at Oklahoma and Kansas State as well as a midweek win over a Texas State squad that’s flirting with the top 25.
What’s the difference?
The hitting. The Longhorns have ramped up their production at the plate and have gone from averaging 3.7 runs per game over the first 11 games of the season to 5.5 over their last 11. That may not seem like a big difference, but it is. It’s the difference between being ranked No. 143 and No. 258 nationally in runs scored. (Texas actually ranks No. 213 when you add it all up.)
The big question is why has the hitting gotten so much better? Good luck finding a tangible answer.
Texas skipper Augie Garrido will tell you it’s the players not feeling as much pressure at the plate. No pressure means less tension. Less tension means more patience. More patience means waiting for a better pitch. Waiting for a better pitch….you get it.
Garrido will also tell you that the improved hitting is the reason his team is committing fewer errors and why his pitching staff is throwing better games. It’s all connected, he says. The increased confidence at the plate carries over the field, which carries over to the mound.
The Longhorns won their second conference series by taking two of three at Kansas State over the weekend. Despite the Friday night loss to the Wildcats, Texas continued to swing the bat well, hitting a combined .319 over the weekend while scoring 16 runs over the three games.
Jonathan Walsh went 9-15 at Kansas State with five RBI and three runs scored.
Left fielder Jonathan Walsh had a great series at the plate against KSU. The junior, who was held out of the midweek game against Stephen F. Austin with a jammed thumb, went 9-15 with five RBI and three runs scored.
Not to be outdone, Erich Weiss chipped in with a 5-11 performance with two home runs, five RBI and six runs.
The Texas pitchers also had a solid week, holding the Big 12’s highest-scoring team to below its average run total (6.9) in every contest. The starters got banged up a little, allowing three runs or more each night, but the relievers came in and pitched very well in Manhattan.
Hoby Milner, who was credited with Sunday’s win, pitched 4.2 innings over the three games, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out six. Closer Corey Knebel also pitched well, getting Saturday’s win thanks to a hitless four-inning performance.
Big 12 Standings
1.Baylor 6-0 (18-7)
2. Texas 5-1 (13-9)
3. Texas A&M 2-1 (19-5)
4. Missouri 2-1 (14-8)
5. Oklahoma 2-4 (13-10)
6. Kansas State 2-4 (13-10)
7. Oklahoma State 1-2 (13-11)
8. Texas Tech 1-5 (15-10)
9. Kansas 0-3 (10-13)
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