[Update: It took extra innings for the Longhorns to earn their 18th consecutive win. The Horns were able to end a 2-2 stalemate with two runs in the 10th. Chance Ruffin struck out the final two batters to give Texas the win. We return to Austin for the second game tomorrow night.]
Texas Baseball travels up I-35 to Waco on Friday night before returning to Disch-Falk Field on Saturday and Sunday. Depending on whom you ask, the Horns are either the best team in the country or a close second. Tubili’s (insert ridiculous adjective of the week) Poll has a full rundown of where we stand. The important thing to take from this is that we are on fire and we’re getting recognition for it. When you look at the big scheme of things, rankings are a means to an end. That end is hosting a regional in Austin, which is beginning to look like a certainty if things continue to go our way.
Despite this fact, there are pressures that go along with sitting on top the polls. Augie Garrido shared these sentiments after Tuesday’s performance, "We try to teach [the players] not to have expectations and to not make assumptions. We know that the rankings are not really what is important. Anytime you have expectations you are setting yourself up for failure. We did that the first time, and we will see what happens this time." As Yogi Berra wisely said, "Ninety percent of this game is half-mental." With Augie at the helm, this team should have that ninety percent and/or fifty percent - depending on your interpretation - in the right state of mind.
A look at Baylor after the jump...
Baylor’s season has been touch and go. They successfully took three out of four games from Oral Roberts, the last team to claim a victory over Texas. On the flip side, they also lost some close games they could have won. Don’t take the Bears for granted, as they sit in the middle of the Big-12 with at 7-9. After Texas, they take a stab at Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. Depending on their performance in those series they could finish as high as third in the Big-12.
The weekend preview on Texas Sports provided a great statistic: our pitching staff has kept right-handed batters to a .201 BA. Here’s the catch: out of the Bears starting nine, six batters can go southpaw at the plate. This includes freshman leadoff man Tyler Collins who is batting .412 and has only been struck out six times. If things go sour at any point, we have solid lefties of our own in McKirahan, Milner, and Stafford. A quick glance at their roster also shows that the Bears have substantial depth: fifteen players have started at least five games.
On the mound, Baylor has an average pitching staff in Verrett, Tolleson, and Fritsch. Logan Verrett, who is lucky enough to match up against Jungman, has only given up one homerun all season. Whether or not he can retain that number with our lineup’s emerging power should provide an interesting storyline. Baylor Ballpark, one of the premier college stadiums, has dimensions almost identical to our own. The Bears have two good relievers in Kevin Winter and Brooks Pinckard, who is also an outfield starter. After that, there is a sharp drop-off in pitching quality. Striking hard, early in the game would do the Horns well. The Horns would also do well to hit the ball to the left side of the field where shortstop Landis Ware and third-baseman Campbell Raynor have combined for 24 errors.
You’re probably going to have to listen to tonight’s game on the radio or follow through gametracker. Saturday’s game will be on ESPNU and Sunday’s will be on Fox College Sports. Feel free to use this as your Friday thread.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday, April 30, 2010 - 6:30 p.m. Central
Texas: RHP Taylor Jungmann (4-1, 2.36 ERA)
Baylor: RHP Logan Verrett (4-3, 3.15 ERA)
Saturday, May 1, 2010 - 8 p.m. Central
Texas: RHP Cole Green (9-0, 1.82 ERA)
Baylor: RHP Shawn Tolleson (2-5, 4.53 ERA)
Sunday, May 2, 2010 - 2:30 p.m. Central
Texas: RHP Brandon Workman (8-1, 3.00 ERA)
Baylor: RHP Craig Fritsch (0-2, 2.89 ERA)