Horns look to right ship with Texas Classic

Jacob Martella

Texas opened up the season in a fashion similar to the past couple of years, winning their first four games of the year — including three against ranked opponents — while averaging seven runs a game.

But the Longhorns’ last three games have been the opposite of their first four games. While pitching has kept them in the game, the offense has sputtered, failing to score five runs in each of the three games — all of which were losses.

Now 4-3, the Longhorns will host the Texas Classic and have the chance to end their recent skid.

The common denominator in Texas’ three straight losses has been the lack of offense, especially with scoring opportunities. In the three losses, Texas has left 31 runners on base, including 16 in the loss to UTSA on Wednesday. Against the Roadrunners, the Longhorns loaded the bases in five innings, but were only able to score two runs in one of those innings, both of which came from a hit batter and a fielding error.

“We need to attack our pitches early and not getting us deep into the count,” said sophomore pitcher and first baseman Holly Kern.

The inability to score has put Texas in a tough spot while the pitching staff works to find an ace. Considered a weak spot on the team coming into the season, the Longhorn pitchers have fared well so far giving up an average of  just four runs through seven games.

Head coach Connie Clark was impressed with how her pitchers approached the UTSA game.

“They were better on the things we were looking to be better at, which was attacking the strike zone and working ahead in the count,” Clark said.

Texas will have an opportunity this weekend to get back on a win streak, but it will be against stiff competition. Kentucky comes into the tournament undefeated — alongside IPFW — and ranked seventh in the NFCA poll.

Kern said the team knows the tournament will be a challenge, especially after the last couple of games, but it will also show how tough they are.

“It will definitely be a test to the character of this team to see how we do this weekend,” Kern said.