Desperate baseball looks to take first Big 12 series against Baylor

Sara Beth Purdy

With desperation on their heels, the Longhorns will head to Waco this weekend to try to salvage a floundering season. Texas (22-17, 5-10) will face Baylor (21-20, 8-6) in a three game series with the Longhorns still looking for their first Big 12 conference series victory of the season.

“There is nothing left for us to do but win every game we possibly can,” Texas head coach Augie Garrido said of trying to make the NCAA tournament. “We would have to take whatever opportunity — if we are placed in the tournament — to win and that would be the only way to get in.”

Last weekend, the Longhorns hosted West Virginia, a team struggling in its first season in the conference. After dropping Game One, 0-1, the Longhorns exploded on offense to blank the Mountaineers 12-0 in Game Two. Despite momentum gained on Saturday, the Longhorns were unable to come out with the win and dropped Game Three in extra innings, 6-3.  

In its mid-week contest this past Tuesday, Texas evened the season series against Houston by defeating it 4-0 at home. Earlier this season, the Cougars defeated Texas 4-3 in Houston.

“I think we’ve already turned. We turned before this game,” freshman C.J Hinojosa said following the game against Houston. “We’ve gotten better every game. Every game that we’ve lost has been a learning experience. I think it’s going to start here. We have to win quite a few of our next games, so this is a good place to start.”

All season the Longhorn pitching staff has been solid on the mound. Texas leads the Big 12 in pitching with a season ERA of 2.56, ahead of second-place TCU, whose ERA is 2.78. Opponents are hitting only .224 against the Longhorns.

Sophomore Parker French is expected start on Friday night in Game One, which is slated for 6:35 p.m. in Waco. Sophomore Dillon Peters will take the mound Saturday for Game Two at 8:05 p.m. and Nathan Thornhill will pitch Sunday in Game Three at 2:05 PM.

Peters leads the team with a 1.80 ERA. Opponents are hitting only .210 against the sophomore. In his last outing, Peters pitched eight innings while surrendering no runs and only four hits. 

The Longhorns have been struggling at the plate and with the exception of Hinojosa and juniors Mark Payton and Erich Weiss, the Texas offense has been inconsistent all season. The Longhorns are hitting .264 on the season, seventh in the Big 12.