The No. 9 Longhorns (27-4) will take on the No. 18 Baylor Lady Bears (26-5) in the first conference games of the season in a home-away series on Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday game will be in Waco at 2 p.m., while the Sunday game will be played at McCombs Field at 12:30 p.m.
Coming into conference play, Texas owns the second-best winning percentage, with Baylor third. But the Longhorns aren’t used to true road games, as this will be just their second of the year, compared to their 16 home games.
Baylor, led by ace Whitney Canion, has had its share of quality wins, highlighted by its win over No. 2 Arizona State, 6-2, in Tempe. That is the same team the Longhorns fell to a few games ago.
Canion is 13-3 with a 1.17 ERA and is sure to face the Longhorns in one if not both games, making a great matchup against Texas ace-in-the-making Blaire Luna. The Baylor pitching staff is second in the nation in team ERA, with rival Oklahoma just in front.
To win, the Longhorns will need to manufacture runs against this Baylor team with small ball and clutch hitting. The Lady Bears have only allowed more than three runs in three games this year, compared to Texas’ seven.
As for Baylor’s offense, they score with singles — and lots of them. Unlike the Texas lineup, which is fairly strong throughout and has a good amount of power, Baylor’s lineup is top-heavy with no player claiming more than four home runs. If damage is going to be done, it will come from the top of the lineup.
Three of the first four batters have a batting average higher than .400, and no one else in the lineup has an average above .300. But those three at the top can cause damage, especially Sarah Smith and her .443 average.
Offensively, Texas has been firing on all cylinders recently with a good mix of the power ball and small ball. Seven of the nine starters sport an average over .300, including senior Taylor Hoagland, who leads the team with a .481 batting average and a .935 slugging percentage.