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Texas Baseball vs Loyola Marymount: Game 1 Open Thread

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40AS Note: The Horns and Lions will attempt a 7 PM game tonight with a doubleheader beginning sometime on Sunday. Full details once they're announced.

Because it's the best time of the basketball season, we don't want to take up too much space on the front page with this baseball weekend preview. So we'll put the bulk of it below the jump. For those of you that just want the quick facts about the weekend, though, here they are:

  • Texas comes off yet another disappointing weekend but got a nice midweek win against Dallas Baptist. DBU is not the same squad that made a super regional last year, and the Longhorn offense remained absolutely dreadful, but hey--a win's a win.
  • The Horns enter the weekend at 5-7, but probably having played the toughest schedule in the country thus far. For the first time in recent memory, Texas is unranked in all three major polls; but on the plus side, they did provide Rice with its only loss so far.
  • Loyola Marymount comes in at 4-7. Their only big-name opponent so far has been in a midweek game against Cal State Fullerton, which the Gauchos lost 6-2. That was part of a five game losing streak that also included a four-game sweep at the hands of Cal Poly. But LMU has taken two of three in its other two series--against UNLV and at UC Santa Barbara.

It would be huge for Texas to get on track with a sweep this weekend to get their record back above .500 and get some momentum heading into next weekend's conference opener against OU. From a psychological perspective, it would also be nice to get back into at least one of the Top 25 rankings ahead of next Tuesday's contest against Texas State--to avoid the indignity of playing the Bobcats while they're ranked and the Longhorns aren't. More importantly, though, the first three weeks of the season have left Texas with little margin for error if they want to climb their way back into a position where they may host a sub-regional in Austin.

The WCC's Gauchos are led offensively by Cullen Mahoney, who hits .375, slugs at .469, and has an incredible OBP of .556--all three of which are team highs. Mahoney's on-base-percentage is the most impressive number of the lot, as he reaches base more than half of his plate appearances. That's really remarkable. As if that weren't enough, the junior infielder is also a switch hitter. So Longhorn fans are in for a treat watching this kid play. The other two Gaucho starters hitting over .300 are junior infielder Joey Boney and junior outfielder Zac Fujimoto.

We will both be out of commission this weekend, so each game's open thread will be set on a timer to publish; we will have a weekend recap for you early next week. All 3 games are on the Longhorn Network, and here are the pitching matchups:

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday, March 9, 2012 - 6 p.m. Central
Texas: RHP Nathan Thornhill (2-1, 3.79 ERA)
LMU: RHP Colin Welmon (1-1, 5.09 ERA)

Saturday, March 10, 2012 - 7 p.m. Central
Texas: RHP Ricky Jacquez (0-1, 6.55 ERA)
LMU: RHP Trevor Megill (0-3, 4.41 ERA)

Sunday, March 11, 2011 - 1 p.m. Central
Texas: RHP Parker French (1-0, 3.86 ERA)
LMU: LHP John Lally (1-0, 5.54 ERA)

Hook 'em!