The Longhorns are hitting the road again. The 35-5 Texas team will make the hour-and-a-half journey up I-35 to challenge Baylor in a one-game conference stand.
The Longhorns are currently 9-3 in the Big 12 where they stand second behind rival Oklahoma. Baylor, on the other hand, is seventh in the conference with their 3-8 record.
The No. 25 Baylor Bears are coming off eight days of rest. Before that break, the Waco team had a six game home stand against Stephen F. Austin, Kansas and Texas A&M. Baylor won four of those six games but lost the last two, one against Kansas and the other to Texas A&M. With that two-game losing streak hanging over their heads, the Bears look to leader Kathy Shelton to keep them competitive. The junior leads the team in batting average (.374), runs, hits, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and stolen bases. She plans to stop the Longhorns current three-game winning streak.
Texas comes into tonight’s game after sweeping Kansas in Lawrence. Senior third-baseman Nadia Taylor leads the team, and was just named Big 12 Player of the Week for the second time this season. She hit at a .625 clip during the week against in-state rival Texas Tech. In the series against the Jayhawks, she hit .800 with three home runs and a Texas record-high five walks in one game.
Taylor is one of many Longhorns who have been hitting the ball much better. After the weekend sweep, Taylor Hoagland said that Texas is much more confident at the plate.
“I think our team hit the ball in fantastic fashion throughout the series,” Hoagland said. “We really hit well across the board this weekend. [The losing streak] was a humbling experience and a wake-up call for us. It was an eye-opener for us and made us realize there is a lot to be done. It’s a good starting point for us.”
Kansas played decently against the Longhorns. Not only did the team hit well, scoring 32 runs, they also showed their strength after losing three straight to Missouri and Texas Tech.
Texas travels to a tough stadium, however. While it may been remembered as the field that President George W. Bush and members of his staff and secret service agents often used for pick-up games, Getterman Stadium in Waco is not known for allowing home runs. Since 2007, Baylor has hit 43 of their 60 home runs in road games, highlighting the difficulty of their home stadium.
From here on out, the Longhorns have only conference games left. They know its grind time if they want to win the regular season in the Big 12 and make a push into the NCAA Tournament. This one-game stand is the last on the road for the team before they come back to Austin for a series against Oklahoma State. The fight has just begun as the post-season is coming up. Every game and every win means an opportunity to move up in the rankings and get ready for their run after the regular season ends.
Printed on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 as: Road tested Longhorns hope to keep streak alive against Bears