Texas crosses state lines for weekend battle with No. 23 LSU

Travis Hlavinka

After playing Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend, No. 19 Texas will once again go head-to-head with a team from the Pelican State. This time, however, the Longhorns have a stiff test against No. 23 LSU for three games at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field — one of the toughest stadiums in all of college baseball for visiting teams.

“The Box,” which holds a capacity of 10,326, will likely be packed come game time. LSU, which owns six national championships, last hoisted the trophy over the runner-up Longhorns in 2009.

“We’re playing in an environment that’s as good as any in baseball, and we’re playing a really good team,” Texas head coach David Pierce said. “There’s a lot of obstacles there, and so it’s a great opportunity for us to see where we are at these early stages of the game.”

LSU fans, who are known for their fierce nature, will likely create a very arduous environment for the Longhorns over the course of the three days.

“If you peek up and you look at the LSU being chanted, you’re in trouble,” Pierce said. “(Our team) has to keep their heads down, stay concentrated. But it’s just a great opportunity to play in front of potentially 12,000–13,000 people three nights in a row, and none of them really rooting for us. It’s going to be an experience for our guys.”

Junior catcher and first baseman DJ Petrinsky is a newcomer to the Texas lineup this year. Having spent the past two years at Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas, where the total enrollment is just under 4,500, Petrinsky will likely witness a crowd three times that size multiple times come this weekend.

“I think it’s just fun for the experience,” Petrinsky said. “That’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, playing at ‘The Box’ in a weekend series. It’s going to be a blast. I’m looking forward to it.”

Though LSU’s squad is currently a surprising 2–2, with an opening series loss to Notre Dame, the Tigers are still a potent team that is always a force to be reckoned with.

While the atmosphere may try to sway Texas’ confidence, the Longhorns believe they won’t fall into the trap. Texas has momentum building coming off a series win over Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend and a win over Lamar on
Wednesday night.

Texas is traveling to Baton Rouge with one goal on the agenda — win each game.

“I think we’re going to enjoy it,” Petrinsky said. “They seem pretty down right now. Let’s go in, and you know I’m always looking for a sweep. We’ll see.”

Texas and LSU open their three-game, weekend series on Friday in Baton Rouge. First pitch is at 7 p.m.