Longhorns fly to Manhattan to face Wildcats

Travis Hlavinka

The red-hot Longhorns look to continue their wave of success this weekend as they make the journey to Manhattan, Kansas, to face the Kansas State Wildcats (13–12, 0–3 Big 12) squad. Texas (16–10, 5–1 Big 12) has won seven of its last eight and looks to continue that success in a big way.

Sophomore shortstop David Hamilton, who recorded the first home run of his career this past Tuesday against Texas State, has already mentioned that the team is looking to bring out the brooms.

“We’d like to take all three (games),” Hamilton said. “But they’re a good team, it’s going to be tough. We’re playing at their field. We’re just going to have to bring it.”

Hamilton also said that one of the reasons he believes his team is playing so well has a lot to do with the Longhorns’ tough preseason schedule. He said playing teams like LSU, Stanford and Arkansas, even with some losses, added a lot of experience and grit.

“We’re used to battling in games,” Hamilton said. “We’re used to not killing teams in the preseason. I’d say that (our pre-conference schedule) helped.”

Sophomore third baseman Ryan Reynolds prophesied what Texas fans should expect to see this weekend. He thinks the test will be tough, but welcomed by a team that has played a majority of its games at home.

“(This road trip is) going to show the different adversities we can overcome,” Reynolds said. “Just playing on the road. Different umpires, different field conditions, weather, all that.”

Reynolds, who has recently taken over the clean-up spot in the batting lineup behind junior infielder Kody Clemens as of late, mentioned that he enjoys the spot, but more specifically those around him when he’s hitting in the four-hole.

“This lineup is just stacked,” Reynolds said. “I like hitting behind Kody because they’re going to want to pitch to him. He’s always going to get on. Then I’ll have (Masen) Hibbeler and (Zach) Zubia behind me. It’s comfortable to me.”

To Hamilton and Reynolds, the results may mean a bit more than they do to Texas head coach David Pierce. He says that his personal hope is that he sees a quality approach from his team throughout this road trip.

“We’re looking forward to another series,” Pierce said. “I think our biggest key is to continue to play and not get caught up in the results and understand that you can have great at-bats or great pitches and not always get the results we’re looking for.”

He also said he believes the team is doing much better at staying focused throughout the whole game.

“Playing the game to its entirety is critical for us,” Pierce said. “And I think we’ve done that better in the past few games.”

Texas will play its first game of the series Thursday night at Tointon Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.