After a highly frustrating series against Stanford, Texas Longhorns baseball (7-6) will look to break a three game losing streak with a match-up against Richmond (3-7) Tuesday night at the Disch at 6:30 CST.
Junior righty Connor Mayes (6.23 ERA) will likely take the hill tonight for the ‘Horns. Mayes has struggled the most of any Texas starting pitcher thus far in 2017, but his performance has been better than his stats indicate. For example, Mayes allowed three runs in 3.2 innings against Lamar, but that was due to one missed pitch being knocked for a three run homer. His six strikeouts, eight hits, and two walks in 8.2 innings show that Mayes hasn’t been disastrous on the mound, but he has been unlucky.
The Longhorns shouldn’t have an issue dealing with the 3-7 Spiders, whose only wins have come against North Carolina A&T, Toledo, and Longview. Richmond has had some ugly losses, including dropping two straight by 15 runs at the hands of Binghamton and Texas State last week.
Look for Texas hitters to be patient at the plate tonight. Richmond has walked 54 batters through 10 games thus far, and the ‘Horns have utilized free bases to catalyze rallies several times this season. Richmond’s team ERA of 7.49 and 12 allowed home runs also bode well for Texas hitters. The ‘Horns will attempt to shake off a collective team slump, as seven of Texas’ 10 hitters with 15 or more at bats are hitting at .182 or below.
Despite poor pitching, Richmond has been able to manufacture some offense thus far, scoring at least five runs in four out of 10 games, including against reigning NCAA champion Coastal Carolina (the Spiders fell 8-5). As a team, the Spiders are hitting .268, compared to Texas’ abysmal .203 team batting average.
There are no guarantees in baseball, and the Longhorns’ lackluster hitting potentially puts pressure on Texas’ pitching even against lowly teams. Texas’ starting pitchers have been near flawless, but the bullpen hasn’t fared well enough in the low scoring affairs the ‘Horns often find themselves in. If Texas’ can’t blow open the scoring early, a key for tonight may be how well the Longhorn relievers can seal the deal.
Following tonight’s game, the Longhorns will take on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at the same place and time tomorrow. These two mid-week games are an opportunity for Texas to boost its record before hosting UCLA in a three game series this weekend.
You can tune in tonight on the Longhorn Network or 104.9 the Horn. This is your open thread.