Texas looks to improve on strong start

Trey Scott

The season-opening series against unranked Maryland was a case study in consistency.

When the No. 6 Longhorns are at their best, sharp in the field and smart at the plate, they’re tough to beat — as illustrated by their 16-0 win over the Terrapins on Sunday. But when they get away from the little things, they struggle; evident in their 10-1 loss to the same team a day prior.

The Longhorns (3-1) outscored Maryland 32-14 over the weekend, but the results of each game were inconsistent, suggesting that Texas didn’t always play the game it’s capable of.

The Longhorns enjoyed blowouts in the first and fourth games, got stomped in the second game and had to scratch and claw their way to a 7-4 win in the third game, thanks to a furious rally put together in the bottom of the eighth inning when Texas scored five runs.

“I hope that we can realize the energy, competitiveness, fight and focus it takes to play each inning that way,” said head coach Augie Garrido. “Our goal is to do it inning-by-inning and not have to wait until we’re in such a difficult position.”

Freshmen Erich Weiss, Mark Payton and Jacob Felts have a collective .572 batting average and are models of the consistency for the rest of the team.

“The best players on the field right now are the younger guys,” Garrido said. “They go out, keep it simple and play ball. That’s what they did and that’s why they’re successful.”

Some of the older players failed to get into form over the weekend, with junior second baseman Jordan Etier going hitless in 10 at-bats and shortstop Brandon Loy managing to hit .188.

“We’ve got a lot of guys thinking about a lot of things. The whole idea is to stay focused on being a ballplayer because that’s all you can control,” Garrido said. “We failed at that. If we’re going to be a winner, we have to elevate our attitude.”

Texas will use Sunday’s 16-0 win as the blueprint for today’s game against Texas A&M Corpus Christi. The Longhorns’ starting pitcher will be a game-time decision, but Garrido has said he will send a multitude of pitchers to the mound tomorrow against the Islanders (4-0), who are coming off a series sweep of Mississippi Valley State. Last year, Texas came out on top with a combined score of 22-5 in two games.

The Longhorns would be wise to not overlook the Islanders and to focus on the little things against them and their starting pitcher Justin Meza. Garrido will be the first one to say that.

“We need to keep working on the things we did well Sunday,” he said. “It’s not about who your opponent is, you need to play the game the exact same way. As a team you can’t reach your full potential unless you respect the game and concentrate on all the details of the game, no matter who the opponent is.”