Longhorns enter must-win territory in final stretch

CJ Vogel

Heads are higher in the Texas locker room following a 10-2 blowout victory over West Virginia Sunday afternoon, a win that ended a six-game losing streak and the worst stretch of baseball the Longhorns have played this season.

Texas (25–21) had risen to No. 9 in the D1Baseball rankings after a superb stretch of baseball. However, due to a string of poor play the last couple of weeks, the Longhorns have completely fallen out of the rankings and perhaps out of postseason contention.

The win Sunday was massive for morale in the clubhouse.

“It’s special,” Texas head coach David Pierce said in his postgame press conference Sunday afternoon. “Nobody has given up. And I think it’s easy to start pointing fingers, but our guys haven’t done that. They’ve been frustrated, and you can be frustrated after a game, but you have to understand if you stay frustrated, you’re not going to do well the next day and it’s going to spiral.”

The victory doesn’t mean the road will get any easier moving forward.

Texas is set to travel down south to face Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (27–20) on Tuesday evening for a nonconference midweek matchup in a game the Longhorns desperately need to win for their postseason résumé.

Having lost seven of its last 10 games, Texas has its work cut out moving forward after being considered a favorite to host a regional in the middle of the season. The team has shown it has what it takes to be a top team in the nation. Now, it’s all about execution.

“We know we have it,” said second baseman Lance Ford, who is coming off the best game of his career with two home runs against West Virginia. “We’ve played some of the best teams in the country, beaten some of the best teams in the country. We know that if we put it together, we can beat anybody.”

For the Longhorns to put it together like Ford said, it begins with the whoever is on the mound.

“We’re not overly talented,” Pierce said. “We have some talent, but probably the biggest thing feeds off of our pitching. And if we attack the strike zone, we get back to having opportunities to win every game.”

Despite the margin for error being razor thin, Pierce wants his team to relax and leave any worries about the postseason to him and the coaching staff.

“First thing we have to do is survive on Tuesday when we go down to Corpus,” Pierce said. “We have to get the mentality of playing the game the right way and let me look at the big picture right now.”