Another year, another disappointing trip to Palo Alto, Calif.
For the second consecutive season, the Texas baseball team was swept by Stanford, casting a shadow of doubt over what appeared to be a promising season for this unproven Longhorns club. Like last year, Texas traveled to Stanford this past weekend for a series regarded as the team’s litmus test. Just aa in 2012, this year’s team failed that test. Texas now sits at 6-5 amid a four-game losing streak. At this point, there are several different perspectives one can take in assessing this team. Naysayers quickly point out that this year’s team has yet to play a quality opponent and appears destined for another NCAA tournament absence. Optimists, on the other hand, argue the club has a higher ceiling and possesses more talent than last year’s team, which began its hot streak following the Stanford series. Rather than making a grand assumption about this year’s team after only 11 games, let’s take a look at some statistics that should shed some light on the matter. After all, numbers never lie:
28: The number of runs the Cardinal scored during last year’s series, including a 15-1 drubbing in the finale. The Longhorns lost each of those three games by at least four runs and were outscored by a total of 28-5. This year’s series was far more competitive, as Stanford outscored Texas just 11-3. The games were generally much closer, including the Cardinal’s 2-1 walk-off win on Sunday.
13: The number of hits the Longhorns had in their entire series against Stanford this past weekend, matching the amount they had last year against the Cardinal. Although one can be happy about the fact that Texas was only outhit 29-13 this year, as opposed to 40-13 last year, this is clearly a red flag for new hitting coach Tommy Nicholson. To put things in perspective, Stanford had 13 hits in its 7-2 victory on Saturday alone.
13: The number of victories Texas had last year in its 17 games following the Stanford series. If the Longhorns want to salvage their season, they will need to duplicate this effort and get on a roll. Considering its relatively easy competition in the upcoming weeks, Texas has a good chance to do exactly that before it enters the meat of its Big 12 schedule.
5: The number of victories Texas had last year against Top 25 opponents in the ensuing 11 games they played after being swept by Stanford, including a three-game sweep of Oklahoma. Unfortunately, it may be a while before Texas notches its first victory against a Top 25 team this year. Facing a weak schedule littered with unranked opponents, the Longhorns will need to get back on track by piling up wins against lesser competition.