Record: 15-11, 5-1 Big 12
Rank: No. 25 – Baseball America (April 2)
Last week: Def. California 13 -3, Lost to Cal 12-2, Lost to Cal 6-5
This week: at Texas Tech (4/5-4/7)
Nathan Thornhill pitched seven innings, allowing two runs in Texas' 13-3 win on Friday.
The week that was
With no midweek game, the three-game series against Cal in Round Rock’s Dell Diamond was the only action the Texas baseball team saw this week.
What started off great ended badly as Texas went from winning the first game by ten to dropping the last two games by ten and one, respectively.
The biggest concern to come out of the weekend was Texas’ eight errors over the three games. The Longhorns now have 33 errors this season through 26 games, putting them on pace to have the most errors since 2008, the last time UT failed to qualify for the NCAA Super Regionals.
Two of those errors were made by Christian Summers at shortstop on Saturday. Texas skipper Augie Garrido wanted to work Summers at short to have a plan in place should one of his starting middle infielders get hurt, but that obviously backfired against the Golden Bears. Summers got work early in the season at short while Jordan Etier served a suspension, so he would still likely be the guy Texas turns to if someone gets hurt, but he’ll need to perform better than he did on Saturday in Round Rock.
Third baseman Erich Weiss also had a rough weekend with an error in each game, bringing his total to a team-leading six.
The starting pitching may be starting to become worrisome also for the Longhorns. While Friday starter Nathan Thronhill (3-2, 3.52 ERA) pitched well (7 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 K), the other pitchers didn’t come through for the Longhorns against Cal.
Parker French (3-1, 4.10 ERA) went 4.1 innings, allowing seven runs (only three earned) on nine hits on Saturday and Ricky Jacquez (1-1, 6.67 ERA) went just 3.1 innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits while striking out four on Sunday.
The good news is, other than Saturday’s 12-2 beatdown, the Texas bats kept popping. The Longhorns hit .314 as a team against the Golden Bears - including Saturday’s debacle - and scored 13 runs Friday and five more on Sunday.
Mark Payton has now reached safely in all of Texas' 26 games this season.
Mark Payton continued his streak of reaching safely and has now done it in each of Texas’ 26 games this year. The Longhorns also continue to get good production from the heart of their order. Weiss, Jonathan Walsh and Alex Silver went a combined 11-for-37 in the 3, 4 and 5 holes, respectively, over the weekend.
With the Texas starters not as dominant as they’ve been in years past, it will be imperative for the Horns to keep their cold hitting nights to a minimum. The biggest reason Texas has been on a surge of late has been their hot hitting. If that fades back to where it was at the beginning of the season, the losses could come back in a hurry.
The week ahead
Texas faces Texas Tech (17-13, 2-7 Big 12) in Lubbock this weekend starting Thursday at 6:30.
The Red Raiders have lost five of six with series losses to Kansas and Oklahoma. They were also swept by Baylor earlier in the year.
Duke von Schamann will likely take the mound for Tech on Thursday night. The sophomore is the defending Big 12 Pitcher of the Week after posting his third complete game of the season in a two-hit performance against Kansas on Friday. von Schamann is second in the Big 12 with a 1.72 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 52 innings. He’s not unhittable, though. Baylor plastered the righty for six runs in five innings in March.
After von Schamann Texas Tech has mixed and matched its starters. John Neely has been pitching the second weekend game for the Red Raiders of late. The right-hander is 2-3 with a 4.26 ERA in 25 innings of work.
Through nine Big 12 games the Red Raiders rank 7th in team batting with a .260 batting average, and they’re scoring three runs per game. Leading the way at the plate are Jamodrick McGruder and Bo Altobelli who each have a .324 average.
Their overall stats are inflated if you look at them with non-conference games included as Tech loaded up with gimme games. Now that they’ve gotten into the Big 12 schedule, the Red Raider offense has slowed to three runs per game and has racked up 66 strikeouts, good for second-most in the league.
Big 12 Standings
1. Baylor 9-0 (22-7)
2. Texas 5-1 (15-11)
3. Texas A&M 4-2 (23-6)
4. Missouri 3-3 (16-11)
5. Oklahoma 4-5 (18-11)
6. Kansas State 3-6 (14-14)
7. Kansas 2-4 (12-16)
8. Texas Tech 2-7 (17-13)
9. Oklahoma State 1-5 (14-14)