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Texas Baseball Takes on Tulane in Weekend's Biggest Sporting Event

Texas returns home after a week of "almosts" desperately needing a rebound against a solid Tulane club.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The story of the 2016 Texas baseball season has not been written yet, but from where we sit right now it is a story of lost opportunities.

Texas is now 7-10 on the year after a midweek loss to former Southwest Conference opponent Texas A&M.

The Horns trailed nearly the entire night and were down 4-0 entering the 9th. A furious rally tied the game before Texas A&M hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th, the second walk-off homer after a late Texas rally in three games. With the loss Texas fell to 2-6 in extra inning or one run games this season but the details of each game are far more painful.

  • A misplayed flyball cost Texas two runs in the 8th inning on opening night eventually leading to a 4-3 loss to UNLV.
  • Texas loaded the bases in the 11th inning of their 1-0 loss to Stanford but couldn't score.
  • An unearned run was the difference in the Friday 4-3 loss to Cal.
  • Texas blew a 7-0 lead on Sunday against Cal before losing in extra innings.
  • Texas gave UCLA an unearned run in Saturday's 5-4 loss. The Horns also had the go-ahead runner at third with no outs in the 9th but failed to score him.
  • Texas put the go-ahead runner on base against A&M but failed to score him. Texas outhit A&M on the night but an unearned run was the difference.

Texas has only given up 8 unearned runs so far in 2016, but nearly every one has come back to haunt them. Had Texas won the two games it "should have won" (UNLV and Cal) and split the four games it "could have won" then they'd be 11-6 and nobody would be complaining.

Alas, mediocre teams perform mediocre when it matters most and, unfortunately, that is what Texas baseball has been so far this year against a very difficult schedule.

Tulane comes to town this weekend to play Texas for the first time since the 2005 College World Series. The Green Wave took an impressive opening weekend series over Illinois but have been very hit or miss this season. Tulane sports three very good starting pitchers, three solid relievers and a whole lot of question marks behind that which has led to opponents scoring 5+ runs 9 times in 17 games this season.

Tulane will probably be the best offensive team Texas baseball has faced so far this season. The Wave are hitting nearly .300 as a team with 19 home runs on the year (20th best in the nation). Four Tulane hitters have 3+ homers this year including former Texas catcher Jeremy Montalbano.

Texas will catch a break in that Tulane will be without All-American shortstop Stephen Alemais who is still out with a shoulder injury he suffered in early March. Alemais is hitting .462 in 10 games.

Texas is 7-10 and desperately needs a series victory at a minimum and preferably a sweep. This Texas team clearly has fight to them and is giving it their all, but so far the results have been below average. If Texas can't turn it around soon then we'll have to start thinking about what the near future of Texas baseball should look like.

Here's the schedule for the weekend, all match ups on Longhorn Network.

FRIDAY 6 PM: UT RHP Kyle Johnston (1-1-, 3.54) vs. Tulane RHP Corey Merrill (2-0, 2.39)
SATURDAY 2 PM: UT LHP Ty Culbreth (2-2, 2.54) vs. Tulane RHP Alex Massey (2-1, 3.55)
SUNDAY 12 PM: UT RHP Connor Mayes (0-1, 1.89) vs. Tulane RHP Emerson Gibbs (1-1, 3.24)