Buckle up Texas Longhorns fans. If last weekend’s sweep of the No. 2 LSU Tigers wasn’t enough, this weekend series should provide a continued dose of elite college baseball between two blue blood programs. Currently, Texas is in thick with one of the toughest stretches in the country — playing 15 of 17 games against top-25 opponents, including last weekend’s series against the Tigers.
This weekend, No. 12 Texas (11-3) travels up to Sunken Diamond for their annual clash against the No. 6 Stanford Cardinal (9-2). According to D1 Baseball, it is the only weekend series in the nation between teams ranked in the top-25. Stanford is heading into the weekend fresh off a series victory against then-No. 24 Cal State Fullerton, in which they took two of three from the Titans.
Recent history has not been on the Longhorns side, as the Cardinal has at least split or taken the series from Texas the past four years. The last time Texas took a series from Stanford was a three-game series in 2014.
Contrary to what you saw last weekend against LSU, Stanford boasts one of the best pitching staff’s in the country. Loaded with All-Americans and top prospects for the 2019 MLB Draft, the Cardinal pitching staff ranks 18th nationally with a 2.46 ERA, including a 1.83 ERA by relief pitchers. In addition, the staff as a whole posts a solid 1.17 WHIP and their SO:BB ratio hovers just above 3.2. Needless to say, these guys will pound the strike zone, keep hitters off balance, and limit the free passes.
The staff is lead by Collegiate Baseball preseason All-American RHP Brendan Beck (0-1, 2.37 ERA) who leads the team in innings pitched (19) and has an impressive 23:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Other names to know on the staff are relievers Zach Grech and Jack Little. Grech leads the team in appearances (five), usually coming in the middle innings and has only allowed four hits in six innings of work. To close out games, Stanford will most likely turn to All-American Jack Little, as he leads the team in saves with three.
The Cardinal are rarely going to wow you offensively, but they did return most of their production last year for the 2019 season. Stanford is led offensively by Brandon Wulff (.306/.694/.405), who has started all eleven games, and leads the team in home runs with four. Other names to know are Tim Tawa, Maverick Handley, and Will Matthiessen — all of whom have started every game for the Cardinal this year.
Once again, this weekend will be a great test for the Horns, but the team arrives in California already battle tested from prior games. However, Texas has not faced this level of elite pitching early in the season, and it’ll be interesting to see how head coach David Pierce decides to attack at the plate. Given their growing confidence and unmitigated fight, maybe this will be the year in which Texas flips the script between these two teams and come out with a series victory.
Below are the day and times of each game along with the starting pitchers:
Thursday (8:05 p.m. Central) — Fr. RHP Ty Madden (2-0, 1.04) vs. So. RHP Brendan Beck (0-1, 2.37)
Friday (8:05 p.m. Central) — So. RHP Bryce Elder (2-0, 0.44) vs. So. LHP Jacob Palisch (1-0, 3.52)
Saturday (4:05 p.m. Central)– Jr. RHP Blair Henley (2-0, 6.75) vs. Fr. RHP Alex Williams (1-0, 1.80)
Sunday (3:05 p.m. Central)– Fr. RHP Coy Cobb (0-1, 3.60) vs. Jr. LHP Erik Miller (1-0, 3.60)
You can catch the game on the Pac-12 Plus live stream on Thursday and Sunday and the Stanford live stream for the other two games or listen in on 104.9 FM The Horn/1260 AM.