The UNLV Rebels come to Austin to face off against the Texas Longhorns after a tumultuous 2015 season that featured a 25-31 record and 10-20 conference slate. The Rebels fired their coach after the 2015 season before hiring Stan Stolte from within.
UNLV enters 2016 having to replace a large part of its offensive production from the disappointing 2015 season. The Rebels had only three players last year -- all seniors -- who hit .300, and those three players accounted for nearly 1/3 of UNLV's home run production. As a team UNLV ranked 170th in the country in batting average (Texas was 227th), 244th in home runs (Texas was 61st), and 190th in fielding percentage (Texas was 23rd).
The Rebels have lost their #1 starter from 2015 in terms of ERA but return innings pitched leader DJ Myers (senior) and other starter Blaze Bohall (junior). Zack Hartman (33.2 IP, 2.94 ERA) is the only pitcher returning to UNLV in 2015 that threw more than 20 innings with an ERA under 3. UNLV ranked 129th nationally in ERA (Texas was 33rd) and 129th in strikeouts per nine innings (Texas was 203rd).
Texas will counter on the mound with sophomore Kyle Johnston on Friday, senior Ty Culbreth on Saturday and sophomore Connor Mayes on Sunday. Here's the lineup for the Longhorns:
Sophomore Joe Baker (and presumptive future 2B) was very impressive in 2015 but will start 2016 on the sidelines with a leg injury. It is not believed to be serious. Freshman Chase Shugart will start the year as the closer but look for him to get at-bats as well.
FRIDAY - 6 PM - Longhorn Network
UT – So. RHP Kyle Johnston (2015 stats: 1-1, 2.21)
UNLV – Jr. RHP DJ Myers (2015 stats: 1-0, 6.48)
SATURDAY - 2 PM - Longhorn Network
UT – Sr. LHP Ty Culbreth (4-5, 3.95)
UNLV – Sr. RHP Kenny Oakley (4-5, 3.18)
SUNDAY - 1 PM - Longhorn Network
UT – So. RHP Connor Mayes (2-4, 2.58)
UNLV – Sr. RHP Ben Wright (1-2, 3.83)
In case you missed our previews you can catch them all here:
First pitch is at 6 p.m. CT so join us here.