Longhorns set to face Xavier in midst of slump

CJ Vogel

It is still relatively early in the season, but Texas is in its worst stretch of baseball during the 2019 campaign.

A team that was hopeful of making its second straight trip to the College World Series entering 2019 has lost four of its last six games and is coming off a 3-2 loss to Incarnate Word on Tuesday.

So what’s next for the Longhorns? According to head coach David Pierce, it’s all about getting the opportunity to practice again.

“We just haven’t practiced (lately),” Pierce said. “We get an opportunity to go out and do our coverages and go out and do our (pitchers’ fielding practice) and do a lot of team work.”

To Pierce’s point, the Longhorns played six games over an eight-day span ranging from March 19 to March 26.

That busy schedule could very well be a valid reason for Texas to experience a bump in the road after jumping into the top 10 of the Baseball America rankings.

There was a two-day break in the Longhorns’ schedule from the game in San Antonio against the University of the Incarnate Word before Xavier University made the trip to Austin on Friday for the weekend series. After Tuesday’s loss, Pierce wanted the Longhorns to utilize the break to return to basic fundamentals on the field.

“We’ll spend the next couple of days … on our cuts and relays,” Pierce said. “Everything we do mainly before the season starts, we’ll get caught up again.”

The weekend series provides a phenomenal opportunity for Texas’ lineup to get into a groove before Big 12 play resumes.

Through 24 games this season, the visiting Musketeers have allowed double-digit runs in 12 games so far. And with the superb pitching Texas has faced over the past week, it wouldn’t be surprising for the Longhorns to add a tally or two to that mark.

Xavier currently sits at 9–15 on the season and is 1–3 against ranked opponents, having played North Carolina and Louisville earlier in the year.

The projected starting rotation remains unchanged since the Texas Christian University series. Pitcher Bryce Elder will start game one, Blair Henley gets the nod in game two and Coy Cobb will close out the series with a start on Sunday.

With a midweek game against archrival Texas A&M looming following the Xavier series, the time is now for Texas to figure things out.