Longhorns look to continue momentum in weekend series

Michael Shapiro

April 12 is history to the Longhorns.

Texas walked off the diamond at Constellation Field in Sugar Land that evening with its fourth loss in just over a week, plating only two runs in two consecutive contests.

The Longhorns sat at 14–19 and looked listless in their third consecutive Tuesday night loss. But since then, things have rapidly turned around for Texas, who have won six of its last seven.

“[The players] now have a lot more confidence in being themselves,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “These wins confirm that we are in fact a good team.”

After opening conference play near the cellar of the Big 12, the Longhorns presently sit in third place. With a record of 20–21, 9–6 Big 12, Texas is tied with Oklahoma State and trails Texas Tech by three games.

“We’ve learned a lot about our team as the season has gone on,” Garrido said. “The 11 remaining games on our schedule give us a great opportunity to make up for lost time.”

Texas’ battle for the Big 12 title will continue this weekend at home against Oklahoma State. With eleven games left in the regular season, the Longhorns still have significant ground to make up after a sluggish start.

“We’re gonna try and keep it simple and stay calm like we did against Texas Tech in the last couple of games,” sophomore shortstop Joe Baker said. “The situation is a little different, but if we want to keep our season continuing into the postseason, we need to play our best baseball.”

Oklahoma State is riding a hot streak of its own. Despite a 6-7 loss to Arkansas on Tuesday night, the Cowboys have won six of their last eight, including two of three against Big 12 powerhouse TCU.

Texas’ pitching staff will have its hands full over the weekend, specifically against the middle of the Oklahoma State’s attack. The Cowboys boast two bashers in their lineup, first baseman Dustin Williams and third baseman Garrett Benge. Williams is currently tied for first in the Big 12 in home runs with nine, while Benge leads his team in RBIs and ranks third in average, hitting .310.

The Cowboys attack provides a difficult challenge to the surging Longhorns. But with just eleven games left in the season, Garrido isn’t focusing on his opponents. Rather, he’s focusing on the trajectory of his own ball club.

“We’re just talking about the eleven games we have in front of us,” Garrido said. “It doesn’t matter who the opponent is. We’ve had an awful lot to do with our winning, and we’ve surely had a lot to do with our losing.”