Texas travels to Palo Alto this weekend for its biggest test of the season. Can the Horns get revenge for a disgusting sweep last year at the hands of the Cardinal?
Texas lost to Sam Houston State 5-3 on Tuesday, but there's not a ton to take away from this game. Cameron Cox made his first start in burnt orange and didn't pitch particularly well. In all Texas started five players with less than ten games D-1 collegiate experience on Tuesday (Cox, Jeremy Montalbano, CJ Hinojosa, Codey McElroy and Ben Johnson), so perhaps the biggest takeaway is that Texas is developing experience in critical areas.
On to Stanford.
The Horns are 6-2 on the year and desperately need to avoid a sweep that would make them a less-than-fun 6-5. A year ago the Horns got swept by Stanford in one of the worst ass-kickings either one of us can remember a Texas team undergoing. Texas never lead in the entire series. Texas was outhit 40-13 and outscored 28-5. Texas tied the game 1-1 in the top of the fourth inning on Sunday which was the closest Texas came to winning any game in the series. In the bottom of the fourth Stanford scored 13 runs.
Fortunately this is not the same Texas team that got destroyed by Stanford a year ago. The Horns have stability in their pitching staff and a much better approach at the plate. The Tree enters the game 6-2 having won five straight after a series opening loss at #12 Rice.
The Cardinal look, on paper, a lot like Texas from two years ago. Offensively Stanford is hitting just .254 led by Justin Ringo and Austin Slater (.381 and .360 batting average respectively). Their team average is brought down significantly by having started seven players hitting between .230 and .091 in three games or more.
Stanford's strength is quite clearly it's pitching. Friday starter Mark Appel could have been the #1 pick in the 2012 MLB draft if not for signability concerns (which led to him returning to Stanford). Saturday's starter is sophomore John Hochstatter (0-0, 3.18 ERA, 10 Ks in 11.1 IP) and Sunday we'll see freshman Bobby Zarubin (1-0, 0.84 ERA, 14 Ks in 9.2 IP) making the first start of his collegiate career.
Here is the TexasSports.com preview, the starters and game times are below.
Time: 7:30 p.m. (Friday), 3 p.m. (Saturday), 3 p.m. (Sunday) - Central
Friday - RHP Parker French (2-0, 1.35) vs. RHP Mark Appel (1-1, 1.93)
Saturday - LHP Dillon Peters (1-0, 2.08) vs. LHP John Hochstatter (0-0, 3.18)
Sunday - RHP Nathan Thornhill (1-1, 2.53) vs. RHP Bobby Zarubin (1-0, 0.84)
Join us here for your Friday night open thread. There's no TV, only radio and gametracker just like the olden days.