Hot streak to be tested in Lubbock

Daniel Clay

This year has been a tale of two seasons for the Longhorns. 

Texas non-conference resume includes a rather unflattering 10-15 record and some eyebrow raising mid-week losses. But in conference play, Texas sports a 7-5 record and has won its last two conference sets against Kansas State
and Kansas. 

“I think they are turning, for sure in the last three games,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “I think the reason for that was, the players took ownership after that first loss to Kansas. Since then they’ve been scoring a lot more runs, playing better on defense, making better decisions and playing with more confidence.”

However, that confidence, is about to face what could be its toughest test of the season with a three game set against the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

The Red Raiders, who were picked to finish fifth out of 10 teams in the preseason Big 12 coaches poll, have defied expectations by roaring out to a 30-10 start and an 11-1 conference record that puts them at the top of the Big 12 standings. 

“With social media now, it’s kind of hard not to see everything that goes on,” senior pitcher Ty Culbreth said. “We know where they are, we know their record and whatnot, but we try not to think about that as much as possible.”

 The Texas pitchers though, might need to think long and hard about the Texas Tech lineup. 

Texas pitchers will have to deal with three games of Tanner Gardner, who is ranked second in the Big 12 with a .390 batting average. Gardner though, is not the only threat in the Texas Tech lineup. The Red Raiders have a staggering five regular starters hitting .329 or above and are hitting .305 as a team, well ahead of Texas’ .266 mark. 

“Just limit the walks; that’s got to be our biggest goal for this entire weekend,” Culbreth said. “We can’t give them any free bases. We need to get ahead as much as possible and make them in a hole instead of ourselves.”

The Longhorns still have a long way to get to 30 wins. Texas will have to go through the conference leading Red Raiders and the very strong Oklahoma State Cowboys in order to win the conference in the regular season and earn a postseason berth. 

“Even the impossible is possible in sports,” Garrido said. “That’s why we’re all gathered here, to see the unexpected take place.”

 Texas may be playing its best baseball of the season, but with 15 games left to play, and 13-away from the 30-win benchmark, it will take quite the finish for the Longhorns to comfortably make it to
the postseason. 

“You have to get ‘hot’ at the right time,” Garrido said. “It’s a process but they know more about the definition of process now than they did when we started. They’re a lot more experienced than when we started.”