Fresh off of two mid-week victories, Texas Longhorns baseball (26-14) will take on another non-conference opponent this weekend as the ‘Horns will host the New Orleans Privateers (17-22) for a three game series. The first pitch will be Friday at 7 pm CST at the Disch, and you can catch the action on the Longhorn Network or 104.9 the Horn.
The Privateers sit at No. 190 on the Boyd’s World Iterative Strength rankings and have lost their last five games. The ‘Horns swept New Orleans in Nola last season.
Still, sweeping anyone is far from a guarantee, and the Privateers do have weapons to challenge Texas.
UNO is led at the plate by senior third baseman Owen Magee, who is batting a team-best .341 and has 12 doubles and four homers on the season. The Privateers as a team are hitting .262 on the season.
New Orleans also has a few very good arms, most notably Friday right-handed starter Bryan Warzek (2-2, 2.93 ERA). Opponents are only hitting .206 against the junior, who has pitched a team-high 55.1 innings. Sunday starter John Michael Stephens (2-3, 3.86 ERA) is nothing to scoff at either, and reliever John Barr (4-2, 1.93 ERA) is a stout option out of the bullpen.
As a team, New Orleans has a 4.93 ERA.
The usual suspects will start on the hill this weekend for the ‘Horns, as Nolan Kingham (5-2, 3.81 ERA) will start on Friday, Chase Shugart (3-2, 4.56 ERA) will start on Saturday, and Blair Henley (5-4, 3.35 ERA) will get the call Sunday. These are the same three guys who were scheduled to start last weekend, but Kingham was ultimately swapped out for Bryce Elder due to an academic violation.
If Texas replicates last season and completes a sweep of New Orleans, the ‘Horns will be in solid shape to host an NCAA regional. Entering the last stretch of the season, the most menacing opponent is by far Texas Tech in Lubbock, but the other three series left on the docket are certainly winnable.
This final push for an NCAA regional starts tonight in Austin against a New Orleans team that is very beatable but is also not be overlooked.