Texas Baseball Making a Push
The Longhorns are on the move in the Big 12 tournament after beating #11 Oklahoma State 3-0 on Thursday, and they’ll now await the winner of the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game that takes place at 12:30 tomorrow afternoon. Texas has had a mixed back in the 2014 season, and currently sit at #22 in the country in the Baseball America poll.
Texas beat Texas Tech in its first match up of the tournament behind multi-hit games from Ben Johnson, Mark Payton, Madison Carter, Collin Shaw and Zane Gurwitz. The Horns jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the top of the second inning, and that’s all Lukas Schiraldi would need in the form of support. Schiraldi threw 5 1/3 innings of four-hit ball, allowing only one earned run even while walking five. In the game against the #1 tournament seed Cowboys, Texas pitching absolutely shut down the OK State offense. Dillon Peters struck out three and walked none in five scoreless innings before French Parker came in to allow only two baserunners over the last four innings of the game to close it out.
Texas has played well throughout much of the season, but struggled when facing the top tier of the Big 12 conference. The Longhorns were swept by TCU in Austin, scoring only one run in three games combined. The next week, they lost two of three to Oklahoma State and ended up losing 3 of their last 4 series’ of the season. Texas will need to face their fears here in the next few days, as they’ll likely have to face the Cowboys just for the right to face TCU in the tournament finals.
Texas will have to keep depending on its pitching staff, which put up a combined ERA of 2.37 throughout the season. Peters and French both had ERAs before 2.40, and figure to be central to the success off the Longhorns in the postseason. Nathan Thornhill had the best year of the entire staff, with the senior putting up a 1.62 ERA over 77 2/3 innings to gain 2nd team All-Big 12 honors along with Brooks Marlow and Chad Hollingsworth. Payton was the only Longhorn to get a 1st Team nod.
The Texas hitting is sub-par, so if Augie Garrido’s team is to make some noise in the College World Series once again, they’ll have to win a few pitching duels along the way.