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Texas Baseball Desperately Needs Win Over Kansas; Preview and Open Thread

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Texas baseball set season highs in hits and runs in Tuesday's 12-5 win over Texas State. With just 20 games remaining, what do the Horns have to do to make the NCAA tournament?

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The Horns set season highs in hits (16) and runs (12) on Tuesday night -- they may be NCAA records too, we're looking into that -- as Texas improved to 18-13 on the season. The Horns were 30-22 last year and probably would have made the NCAA Tournament if not for a late season losing slump.

Texas is going to need a lot of help making the tourney thanks to an RPI of 51 (per Boyds World) and a weak Big 12 conference. They can still do it, but the margin for error seems razor thin. Think 15-5 to end the regular season. To get there Texas needs to win each of the next five conference series and not drop any of the midweek games.

It's certainly doable, but at 3-6 the Horns haven't really shown a proclivity towards wining conference games this year. But it's not like they're terribly far away either as 10 of Texas' 13 losses have come by 2 runs or fewer whereas only 10 of last season's 22 losses were similarly close.

Feel better?

Didn't think so.

This weekend the Horns travel to take on a Kansas team that finds itself on the top half of the Big 12 thanks to series wins over TCU and Oklahoma State. Their nonconference schedule included tiffs versus such prestigious baseball programs as: Nevada, something called SIU Edwardsville, Central Arkansas, Eastern Michigan, Jackson State, Niagara and BYU.

Brutal.

The Jayhawks have several good hitters, including sophomore outfielder Michael Suiter who leads the team in batting average and OPS. KU's 3 homers on the season are not a lot even by Texas standards which virtually guarantees a couple of long balls for Jayhawk hitters this series.

Senior ace Thomas Taylor is KU's biggest and only starting pitching threat (3-0, 1.84 ERA, .243 opponent batting average) as both of Kansas' other weekend starters post 5+ ERAs and opponent batting averages in the .300s. Texas features three starters with ERAs below 2.50 so one would think Texas would have the advantage in starting pitching.

Probable starters:

Friday - RHP Parker French (3-2, 2.32) vs. RHP Thomas Taylor (3-0, 1.84)
Saturday - LHP Dillon Peters (2-2, 2.25) vs. LHP Wes Benjamin (3-3, 5.52)
Sunday - RHP Nathan Thornhill (2-3, 2.49) vs. TBA

First pitch is 6 PM tonight and this'll be your open thread. The road to Omaha begins tonight in Lawrence!