Stop me if you've heard this one before, but the Horns had an opportunity to begin to turn around their season last week. It didn't go great. The Horns led Kansas State 1-0 through 6 innings and were just 9 outs from their first sweep of 2016 when the wheels came off. A tough midweek loss to a good Houston squad followed and suddenly Texas is in exactly the same spot it was this time last week.
Texas is 5 games under .500 with just 20 regular season games remaining. The good news is that the weakest Big 12 team left on the schedule happens to be this weekend's opponent. The better news is that next week's midweek opponent will be the weakest team Texas will have faced this year. The best news is that infielder Joe Baker may be returning this week after missing a month of action.
With the good news out of the way, let's turn to the bad news. First off, Texas is running out of time. There are 20 games left in the regular season and would have to finish something like 16-4 to comfortably make the tournament (sans a Big 12 tournament victory). Even worse news is that next weekend's trip to Lubbock will feature a road series against the toughest team the Horns have faced so far this year (Texas Tech is #5 in ISR per Boyd's World, ahead of #10 TCU and #11 A&M).
Kansas comes to town this weekend at 13-18 overall and 2-6 in conference play. The Jayhawks took the Friday game against TCU last weekend before getting beat by a combined 22-6 score on Saturday and Sunday.
Kansas boasts some guys who can hit for average (6 regulars above .275 BA), and they've displayed some power but that power has not manifest itself in terms of home runs this season (only 8 on the year).
The mound is where Kansas really struggles. Friday starter Ben Krauth is 2-3 with a 2.29 ERA and a pair of complete games. Krauth has gone 5 innings or more in all 8 starts this year and has gone 6 innings or more in each of his last 5 starts. During those last six starts he has struck out 50 while walking 10. Saturday starter Blake Weiman hasn't been dominant but he has been consistent.
Beyond that though the Jayhawks have struggled. Kansas boasts only one reliever with double digit innings and an ERA under 5. As a result the team's ERA is 5.38. If Texas is going to win this series it will have to pitch decently and get to the KU bullpen. Simple enough.
First pitch today is at 4 PM and the two teams will play a doubleheader today due to impending rain on Sunday. Games are on LHN and this'll be your open thread. Hook 'em.