Texas' offense came alive on Sunday as Kevin Keyes, Tant Shepherd and Jordan Etier combined to go 8-12 with 6 RBI. Cole Green pitched a lot better than his final line (7.1 IP, 8 H, 5 ER) with 3 of the runs coming early and 2 coming after he had left the game. Chance Ruffin gave up 2 hits but gets the save in relief. Even with 12 hits on Sunday Texas' batting average remains anemic (.251), but at least Keyes and Etier are starting to swing better bats. Freshman Cohl Walla went 1-2 in his first start and JUCO transfer Paul Montalbano had an RBI walk during the big 6-run 5th inning.
The loss to Houston on Saturday was bad, but there are many fewer underlying problems in losing a 1-0 pitcher's duel than dropping a 13-12 slugfest. Going 2 and 1 in Houston won't improve Texas' national ranking, but a series win is what you look for every weekend.
The strikeout is absolute kryptonite to Augieball and Texas continues to strikeout an inordinate amount of times, even with only two Ks on Sunday. How bad has it been? Texas hitters have struck out in 23.4% of all official at-bats so far this season, nearly 6% more than in 2009 and almost 5% more than in each of the last 10 seasons. Combine that with a team batting average of only .251 and Texas' greatest strength -- the pitching staff -- is at risk of being wasted as it was on Saturday. Three of the worst offenders this season have been Cameron Rupp (a strikeout in 29% of ABs), Tant Shepherd (25.7%), and Connor Rowe (25%), but the worst by far has been Jordan Etier (a shocking 46.7% of all ABs). Etier's hitting picked up a bit this weekend (.375 BA) so hopefully this'll be the start of better things from him.
Four pitchers took the mound for Texas this weekend. Missouri threw six...on Sunday. Texas starters threw a combined 23 innings. Expect to see several more pitchers take the mound with Texas State and a four game series with Iowa coming in the next week.
Texas will play Rice twice more before the end of March but faces a relatively easy stretch coming up with Iowa (4-4), Nebraska (3-7) and Texas Tech (7-4 with only one win versus a team with a winning record) coming up in the next three weeks. Texas State comes to visit Austin on Tuesday at 6:05 PM.