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Texas Baseball Heads North; Minnesota Preview and Open Thread

Texas looks to break out of another mini slump this weekend against Big Ten foe Minnesota. First pitch is at 6:35 tonight in Minneapolis.

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Photo courtesy of Tim Irby

Texas lost to Houston on Tuesday night when Chad Hollingsworth had a rough start and the Texas offense managed three runs (none earned) against the Cougars. If you're scoring at home, that's six runs (three earned) scored over the last four years.

We're not ones for unnecessary sunshine pumping (actually, we are), but those desperate for silver linings should look to the solid play of a bevy of new arms (minus Hollingsworth) and the emergence of Ben Johnson as an offensive threat. Four newcomers replaced Hollingsworth and they combined for 6.1 innings, 4 hits and 1 run. Johnson still has a lot to learn on the bases and in the field, but the kid appears to be a legitimate hitter. The freshman outfielder was 2-4 on Tuesday bringing his season totals to .370 batting average (10-27), 2 home runs and 5 walks compared to just 2 strikeouts. Throw in the possible emergence of Jeremy Montalbano behind the plate and there might actually be something to get excited about way down the road.

This weekend the Horns hope the cure for their ills can be found in the Big Ten. The Golden Gophers are 13-9 but have played the 208th ranked schedule. By far the most impressive win for Minnesota was the season-opening victory over UCLA, though they followed that victory up with a pair of brutal losses (28-1 combined). Still, a midweek series split with Kansas State last weekend shows this series could be quite difficult.

Friday's game will be especially difficult as Dillon Peters is scheduled to make his first Friday night start against Tom Windle. Windle started during the UCLA win and threw a no-hitter earlier this year against Western Illinois. Peters is starting after Parker French tweaked a muscle last weekend against Texas Tech. French wasn't supposed to be badly hurt but an already thin Texas team cannot afford to lose its ace for too long. Expect to see a midweek-esque rotation on Sunday, hopefully as Texas goes for the sweep.

At least the games are indoors, so frostbite is unlikely.

Tonight's game is at 6:35 PM and this can be your open thread.

Projected pitching matchups:
LHP Dillon Peters (1-1, 1.97) vs. LHP Tom Windle (2-2, 1.69)
RHP Nathan Thornhill (1-2, 3.04) vs. RHP Ben Meyer (3-2, 2.14)
TBA vs. RHP Alec Crawford (0-0, 0.00)

Minneapolis Star-Tribune preview.