Stat Guy: Longhorns hope to reawaken their bats in Palo Alto

Drew Lieberman

Last week, Texas baseball was on a roll. 

Redshirt freshman third baseman Bret Boswell provided the heroics in the form of a walk-off single as the Longhorns rallied from a four-run deficit against UT-Pan American for their seventh consecutive victory — their longest streak since March 2011. 

Texas’ pitching had been dominant during the streak. Against Minnesota, Texas pitchers threw three consecutive shutouts, and that hasn’t happened since the 2002 national championship season. In those seven games, the staff allowed only seven earned runs.

The offense was hitting as well as one could expect during the run, combining to hit .335 in those seven contests.

While 23 of Texas’ 29 extra-base hits came from the first six batters in the order, the bottom of the lineup got on base in other ways — by drawing 18 walks, which tied the rest of the lineup over the stretch. 

With a 2–6 San Diego headed to Austin for a three-game set, the Longhorns appeared to be a near lock to enter their four-game series against Stanford with double-digit wins and perhaps even a double-digit winning streak.

But colder temperatures seemed to cool down the streaking Longhorns. 

The weather forced Texas to scratch a three-game series for a Sunday doubleheader. The Longhorns dropped both games, falling five spots to No. 13 in the NCBWA rankings.

They batted a meager .104 in 48 at-bats against the Toreros. In the first game of the doubleheader, the Longhorns only had one hit — a double by senior right fielder Collin Shaw, who, through Monday’s games, ranks second in the nation in that category with 10.

In the combined 16 innings, Texas scored just twice against San Diego. That same staff allowed at least three runs in seven of eight contests entering the weekend, including eight or more in three of those.

Texas stranded 14 runners on base, with the middle of the order responsible for nine of those. Meanwhile, the last third of the lineup went hitless.

The Longhorns totaled only eight bases after hitting for 118 in the previous seven games.

If the bats get going again against Stanford this weekend, the Longhorns could start another winning streak before conference play. The Cardinal, similar to Texas, split its four-game series with Rice this past weekend, and its pitching staff may be exactly what gets the Texas offense back on track.

Stanford has allowed nine or more runs in four of its first 12 games.