Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Texas Baseball needs consistency to keep winning after opening weekend

Skyler Sharp
Redshirt junior Lebarron Johnson Jr. pitches during the second inning of the game against San Diego on Friday. Johnson finished the game with six strikeouts, helping the Longhorns win 7-3.

Texas baseball won its opening weekend series against San Diego 2-1, and while the team looks promising, there is still a lot of work to be done if Texas wants to return to Omaha for the 39th time. 

After redshirt junior pitcher Lebarron Johnson Jr. opened the season on the mound for Texas with a solid five inning performance, the other Texas pitchers, especially starters, looked less than promising. 

On Friday, Johnson gave up two earned runs but struck out six batters. On Saturday, senior Charlie Hurley was pulled during the third inning after loading the bases and only striking out two batters. On Sunday, redshirt junior Tanner Witt left the game after one inning and allowed two runs. 

When Texas gets deeper into the season and Big 12 play, it will need to have a solid group of pitchers that can go out and pitch for more than three innings. 

While Hurley and Witt both left the game with bases loaded, relievers were able to do damage control and avoid disaster. On Saturday, it was freshman Easton Tumis and on Sunday, it was redshirt sophomore Cody Howard. 

Although Witt is recovering from injury, Head Coach David Pierce says that he’s still not completely healthy.

“He’s still trying to work through so much and we thought he was pretty far ahead,” Pierce said. “About a week or 10 days ago, he was really sharp and then had a little setback in the bullpen. We felt like he was moving back in the right direction and the goal was to get six to nine outs, and then turn it over to Cody, and unfortunately, it didn’t work for Tanner, but we haven’t given up.” 

While Pierce may still be hopeful for Witt’s return, Texas will need more consistency on the bump. 

Another area where the Longhorns need to improve is on offense. In Saturday’s loss to San Diego, the game ended on a base-running error that could have been easily avoided. 

In the bottom of the 11th inning, redshirt junior catcher Kimble Schuessler flew out, the ball being caught low to the ground. Junior outfielder Casey Cummings never tagged first on his tag-up, leaving him stranded in the base path. In his scramble to get back to first, he was thrown out and the game ended. 

While losing a game early in the season in college baseball is not the end of the world, a careless error leading to a loss later in the season could be detrimental to the team’s title hopes. 

Another area Pierce wanted to see improvement was hitting. Over the weekend, Texas struggled to get into any offensive groove, leaving 26 batters stranded on base over the weekend. 

For Texas, the key to fighting those mistakes down the line will be learning to get comfortable in uncomfortable situations. 

“We got to get better with two-strike hitting and I think just feeling comfortable in situations against an outside opponent,” Pierce said. “You really never know until you play those games … so I think just getting in situations and getting comfortable (is key).” 

Going into this week, Texas has a fresh slate of four games to keep improving and find consistency in all aspects of its game.

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