Tonight at 6:30, the Longhorns baseball squad will try to pick up the pieces from a disappointing opening weekend of Big 12 play with a victory over Houston, and will hope that can propel them to rebound in a non-conference series at Minnesota this weekend. This will be your open thread.
What was it that was so disappointing about the opening weekend of Big 12 play? Good question! It is the fact that Texas Tech, which has no business ever coming to the Disch and winning a series, took two of three from the Longhorns despite scoring only six runs all weekend. That's an average of two per game, folks. Yet Texas, baseball power that it is, scored only three all weekend. Three. Stinking. Runs. It's actually pretty amazing they managed to take the Saturday game.
We're usually the guys saying the reason Augie hasn't managed to get more productive bats on campus is that the big sticks he signs always end up going pro right out of high school. It's just tough luck, we've been saying. We're very close to putting away the sunshine pumping in terms of the Texas offense. Top players taking the money instead of enrolling is an issue for all major college baseball teams. But look to the east and ask whether the SEC powers, whose baseball traditions are no grander than Texas', are having trouble finding guys who can put runs on the board.
Have a look at the Vanderbilt roster, for example. Notice how few of those kids can be considered "local" to a school in Tennessee. Does anyone really believe that kids from up North and out West who are willing to play college ball in Nashville aren't at least willing to take a look at Austin? We recognize some of the problem over the last couple of years may have been coaching, and that Tommy Nicholson deserves a chance to turn these guys into hitters. Indeed, some of Texas' best bats over the last several years have been freshmen, who then worryingly decline the longer they stay in the program. Perhaps Nicholson will fix that. But we're getting pretty tired of seeing elite pitchers wear burnt orange and lose ballgames. And we fear, sooner or later, the pitchers of the future are going to realize playing in Austin may be something of a bum deal.
Time to break out the sticks and prove us wrong, Longhorns.