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Texas Drops Rubber Game to Stanford, 12-9

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As Wikipedia defines it, a double play (denoted on statistics sheets by DP) for a team or a fielder is the act of making two outs during the same continuous playing action. In baseball slang, making a double play is referred to as "turning two," "rolling a pair," or as Ernie Harwell has coined it, "two for the price of one". On Sunday, Stanford got twelve for the price of six.

Texas (now 9-4) won Friday 5-2, but dropped the game Saturday 6-5 and Sunday 12-9. The exciting thing about this young team is that we'll probably see its best baseball at the end of the season. The problem with this young team is that we probably won't see its best baseball until the end of the season. We know that it's tough as a fans to watch Kawika Emsley-Pai make the final out two straight days in pinch hit appearances, but this team may need a little of that patience. The rotation is still being worked out, the go-to guys still being discovered. This year's team may hit a number of bumps in the road, but it has all the potential in the world.

There are so many different angles we could take to look at this one.

The Negatives:

  • The aforementioned double plays. There were six of them Sunday, and the game only lasted eight innings (because of Stanford's travel plans). Three of them ended innings and two of them came with the bases loaded.
  • The hitting. It's hard to complain when your team bangs out nine runs on eighteen hits, but here we are. Texas made a furious run after falling behind 9-1. Nothing was working for much of the game. We'll talk about the encouraging aspects later, but for Sunday's first six innings, hitting goes in the negative category. We know it sounds a bit overly critical to rip the offense for six bad innings; but the ability to score runs while the game is close is important.
  • The pitching. Starter Cole Green lasted only 1/3 of an inning, giving up five runs on six hits. Texas used six pitchers on the day, and while only Green struggled mightily, nobody really took control. Even as Texas made its comeback, Stanford kept putting runs up on the scoreboard.
  • After taking Friday's game, Texas had a great opportunity to win a big series. Texas really had no business losing Saturday, and played pretty well with the exception of Kyle Walker's outing and Marcus Tackett's mistake pitch which turned into a two-run HR. Stanford had no business losing Sunday, and did not disappoint. It could've been a great series victory, but it was not meant to be.
  • Over-zenned? We firmly believe that Augie knows what he's doing with this team. That said, we really hope Augie knows what he's doing with this team. It just wasn't the finest weekend for the coaching staff.

We have always been big believers in optimism (at least at the beginning of the year), and feel there are a still a number of positives to be taken from this series.

The Positives:

  • The defense was (relatively) solid during all three games. Four errors on the weekend isn't great, but it's not all that bad either. This was a serious concern after the first 10 games and we should continue to watch it, but the improvement from one weekend to the next inspires hope.
  • Brandon Belt and Jordan Danks are on an absolute tear. Danks went 6-12 for the weekend, raising his season average to a much healthier .347. Belt was fantastic on Sunday, going 4-4 and pacing Texas in the comeback bid.
  • Texas may have some power after all. At the start of the day the Horns were averaging a home run every 100 at bats. Three home runs later, Texas was down to one every 60 or so.
  • Texas showed some real resiliency. They could very easily have given up when things weren't going well. They didn't, and you can bet this ability to come back will be needed later in the season. Hopefully Sunday's rally gave the team some confidence it can build on.
  • A lot of youngsters are getting valuable time. Cameron Rupp went yard for the first time as a Longhorn, Belt continues to impress, Slayton Thomas got a couple of good innings of work on Saturday, and hopefully Green got the chance to work some kinks out. These freshmen will have to play a huge role if Texas is to go far in the postseason.

Next Up:
Texas gets a good break this week, returning to action...today...against always-feisty Dallas Baptist. After that the Horns take on Rice TOMORROW in another important early season battle in Houston. A win there could go a long way towards helping us forget this weekend's struggles. Following those two games, Texas starts conference play on Friday against Kansas in Austin. Honestly, the extremely compressed schedule already has us tired, and all we do is sit on our butts and watch the games.

--40AS--