Texas vs. Maryland
Games 1-4 -- UFCU Disch-Falk Field
Feb 18 - 3 PM; Feb 19 - 12 PM; Feb 19 - 2:30 PM; Feb 20 - 12 PM
The Texas Longhorns baseball team begins its run to Omaha today at 3 PM against Maryland at UFCUDFF. The Horns and Terps will play four games this weekend, and anything less than winning three of the four would be a disappointment. Maryland was nothing short of awful a year ago, going 17-39 (5-25 ACC). They struggled to hit, their .258 team batting average good for 288th out of 292 teams nationally, and were only marginally better pitching (7.19 ERA, 238th nationally).
Friday starter Brett Harman, who wasn't terrible in 2010 (5-8, 4.50 ERA), returns for Maryland in 2011, as does fellow senior starter Eric Potter and junior Sander Beck. Unlike Harman, Potter and Beck were pretty bad in 2010, managing to go a combined 2-18 with 8.80 and 7.38 ERAs respectively). Of course the projected mathcups don't have Harman starting, so who knows where he'll see action. At the plate, Maryland returns DH/OF Brandon Padula and utilityman Gary Schneider, the only two Maryland players to hit above .280 a year ago. The new NCAA bat regulations may not have the greatest effect on Maryland's offense as they only produced 28 home runs last season.
Speaking of which, new NCAA regulations may dramatically alter the season ahead and conventional wisdom is that they couldn't be more beneficial to Texas (read a nice analysis from BC here). The new bats have dramatically altered the 'ping' sound (watch the Alumni game here and judge for yourself), and most observers believe home runs will be much rarer than in previous years. The result will be a reliance on strong pitching and defense. Texas is already playing in a cavernous park and Augie's teams are traditionally built to smother opponents with dominant pitching and defense. Of course, trading for defense at the expense of power means that Jordan Etier's value increases while Kevin Lusson's decreases. Time will tell if reality will match the theory.
For the Horns, Taylor Jungmann and Cole Green will start Friday and Saturday. Sam Stafford will get a start in what we believe will be the short game Saturday, and Hoby Milner will be the Sunday starter. Austin Dicharry should get a chance to come from the pen and is by no means out of the starting pitcher race. The projected lineup, which may or may not reflect what we see all weekend, has Mark Payton in RF, Jacob Felts catching, Jonathan Walsh DHing and Tim Maitland in LF.
Weather, pitching match-ups, possible lineup and video after the jump.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday, Feb. 18, 2011 - 3 p.m. Central - Partly Sunny, 76 degrees, wind 18 MPH SSE
Texas: RHP Taylor Jungmann (8-3, 2.03 ERA)
Maryland: RHP Sander Beck (0-8, 7.38 ERA)
Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 - 12 p.m. Central - Hazy, 68 degrees, wind 16 MPH SSE
Texas: RHP Cole Green (11-2, 2.74 ERA)
Maryland: RHP David Carroll (JC Transfer)
Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 – 30 minutes following the first game
Texas: LHP Sam Stafford (0-0, 2.61 ERA)
Maryland: LHP Eric Potter (2-10, 8.80 ERA)
Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011 - 1 p.m. Central - Cloudy, 74 degrees, wind 11 MPH S
Texas: LHP Hoby Milner (3-1, 1.97 ERA)
C - Jacob Felts
1B - Tant Shepherd
2B - Jordan Etier
SS - Brandon Loy
3B - Kevin Lusson
LF - Tim Maitland
CF - Cohl Walla
RF - Mark Payton
DH - Jonathan Walsh