The Texas Longhorns baseball team currently sits at 4-3, which is not too bad considering the schedule to this point. Splitting this past weekend's four-game set with Stanford, with each team winning one close game and one blowout, actually feels about right -- the Cardinal and the Longhorns were thought to be in similar positions coming into the season (long-serving head coach with disappointing results the last few years, uncertain where 2016 would take them), and this weekend at the Disch did exactly nothing to answer questions about either team's trajectory.
The big six-run fourth inning sure was a lot of fun on Saturday. Augieball doesn't provide a whole lot of "crooked number" innings, so when the Texas bats go off for a big rally it's a joy to behold. The Saturday game as a whole was an indicator of the ceiling fans can expect with this Texas team -- everything was just as it should be. The hitters exploded for 13 hits, including contributions from young guys like Kody Clemens, who mashed a pair of liners (one for an unlucky out), and sophomore Bret Boswell delivered a three-run homer that essentially wrapped this one up in the fourth.
The pitching was vintage, as Ty Culbreth took a no-hitter into the 7th inning and had faced the minimum up to that point, with the only baserunner reaching on a strikeout/passed ball. Culbreth ultimately allowed only two hits in eight innings of work, giving way to Kacy Clemens for the final three outs.
But for all the good feelings of Saturday, the next game showed just how low the Texas floor could be. (Eerily similar to the last couple of basketball games, isn't it?) On Sunday, the team simply was not sharp. Connor Mayes, clearly nervous as he attempted to make a case for himself in the weekend rotation, put three men on in the first inning with a pair of walks and a hit batter. Worse, after a two-run single, Mayes balked in the third run of the inning.
While Mayes would settle down and end up with a respectable four-inning outing, the RBI single in the first would be all Stanford needed in an 11-1 rout. Texas couldn't get the bats going and ended up with just five hits as Stanford ran away with it in the late innings.
So the weekend was a microcosm of the two directions this season could go. Tonight we get to see what Texas' pitching depth looks like, as the Longhorns play the Bobcats on a Tuesday night sandwiched between two four-game series (Cal comes to town for a Thursday-Sunday match up this weekend).
Morgan Cooper will likely go for the Horns, who try to avoid losing to Texas State for the first time since 2005. Of course, that was also the last national championship season, so maybe a loss tonight wouldn't be so bad. The Bobcats come in at 5-3, having played Washington State, Michigan State, and Rice along with UCF and TAMU-CC thus far.
First pitch is at 6:00 PM, and the game is on radio and the Time Warner Cable Sports Channel (323). You can listen for free here.