After blanking Dallas Baptist 5-0 on Tuesday night, Texas believes it has found its consistency — again.
When the Longhorns (16-6, 1-2 Big 12) have gotten multiple runners on base this season, they have been able to push across enough runs to win. Following a disappointing opening Big 12 series last weekend, head coach Augie Garrido stressed the importance of getting back to that.
“We took some of our better at-bats with runners in scoring position tonight, and that’s the way the team functioned earlier in the year as well,” Garrido said in a statement after Tuesday’s win. “So I thought, coming off what happened on the weekend, put that together with the way they reverted back to … when they were playing best, with a clear mind, aggressive, and confident, was a huge turnaround for a team to do.”
Junior pitcher Lukas Schiraldi threw a season-high eight scoreless innings against the Patriots, bringing the team’s combined ERA down to a stellar 2.09 for the year. The Longhorns’ pitching has been strong all year, but the way the defense is beginning to play behind its pitchers has made the team tougher to beat.
“I was very pleased with tonight,” Garrido said. “Schiraldi was really good, and the team behind him functioned very well.”
The thing that has set Texas apart in wins this season is its ability to get lead-off hitters on base. Junior infielder Brooks Marlow went 1-for-2 and drew three walks Tuesday, allowing senior outfielder Mark Payton to drive him in multiple times, a pattern that found its way down the entire lineup card.
“That’s what they are capable of doing, and I think we are getting to a point where we can run that down through six or seven guys right now,” Garrido said. “It takes that in this small-ball offense. It takes five guys to score a run a lot of times. There are no home runs.”
Against Columbia (5-9), a team that enters this weekend’s series with a combined 5.25 ERA, the Longhorns should continue to thrive. Freshmen Tres Barrera and Zane Gurwitz both had two hits against Dallas Baptist, which could add an extra gear to the team if the young players can get going consistently.
“If they can start to be consistent at the plate, and be a little more aggressive like they were tonight, they can add another element to the team,” Garrido said.
If Texas can continue to get runners on base for its big hitters, it will be a dangerous team beyond this weekend.