Augie Garrido's bunch begin the first of four Fall baseball games today at 1 PM against Houston, available on the Longhorn Network (!). Last season ended with Texas pitching falling apart in Omaha without any support from a despondent offense. The Horns have lost starting pitchers Taylor Jungmann and Cole Green for this year but return starters Sam Stafford and Hoby Milner as well as phenom closer Corey Knebel. A year ago the Texas bats fell silent in Fall Ball, foreshadowing an ongoing storyline that would never leave. The Horns should be better offensively in 2012, but just how much better and whether the offensive improvement can be matched by a continued elite level of pitching (as the Horns had in 2011) will be the year's big question.
If you like an offensively challenged but solid defensive squad filled with youngsters looking to improve then Texas baseball in 2012 may just be the team for you. Far more of a preview in the months ahead but some names to look for and an open thread for anyone preferring college baseball over the NFL after the jump.
One the mound:
- Austin Dicharry - Will he ever pitch again? Will we ever see the freshman version of Dicharry again?
- Kirby Bellow - Every time he pitched a year ago was a disaster, has he improved or will he play the field?
- Dillon Peters - Having no inside information, Peters may have the inside track towards the third starter spot considering he was the highest regarded freshman pitcher making it to the 40 Acres this year.
In the field:
- Ricky Jacquez - The most likely candidate to replace Brandon Loy's gigantic shoes (unless Etier plays SS), Jacquez would've been playing professional ball this season if he were three inches taller. Getting him on campus was a coup.
- Cohl Walla - The lanky CF battled injuries in 2011 and hit a measly .229. In 2010 he was one of the Horns biggest offensive talents, getting that hitter back would go a long way towards easing Texas's run scoring problem.
- Erich Weiss - The freshman was about the only bright spot a year ago offensively, but can he recreate 2011's magic or is he due for a sophomore slump?